Mission District, San Francisco

DSC_7197My roots as an image maker began in San Francisco. I grew up in Fremont, across the bay from the windy city. Approaching my Junior year in High School I was finally able to choose some electives. I chose a general art class and a beginners photography course. At the time, photography for me was toting around my dads camera bag during family vacations and trips to the Reno Air Races. Taking the pictures didn’t really interest me too much, don’t remember why, maybe it was the annoyance of having to carry the bag around all the time. Little did I know, it was good assistant training. I don’t remember why I chose the photography class, maybe it was the mysterious revolving door which led into the darkroom or my desire to explore creativity. Either way, my dad was excited for me and immediately took me to a pawn shop and helped me pick out my first camera. When we went to the Reno Air Races that summer we took turns carrying the bag so that I could also take pictures, but I still didn’t really get it. It wasn’t until the fall, when I entered the darkroom, hand processed my first roll of film and custom printed my first photograph that something lit up inside me. Watching that first image appear in the developer was magical and I wanted more.

Come senior year I had been out shooting a lot, and did enough good work for my instructors to take notice. The art class also revealed a nack for pencil drawings and my instructors started encouraging me to attend an art college. They started bringing me catalogs from different art schools around the country. I still remember the feel and smell of the San Francisco Academy of Art University book. It intrigued me most because the school was close and had a reputable photography program. I spent my first week at college lugging heavy bottles of chemicals, boxes of paper, and other darkroom supplies about one mile up-hill from the photo supply store on 2nd street to the Photography School on Powell Street just north of Bush Street. Good thing my parents had given me a strong back pack for Christmas the previous year and good thing I had all that assistant training! That was about 16 years ago, I still have that backpack and still use it.

Recently, while on a job in the Bay Area and staying with my folks in Fremont, we visited the city and took a leisurely stroll through the mission district were I had the opportunity to snap a few.