Online Photography Exhibit Featuring the San Francisco Bay area
"Watching TV or TV Watching?"
Willy's Barber Shop, Mission District
photography by LORRAINE CASTILLO
On 22nd Street, just a half block from Mission Street, stands a tiny old-school barber shop by the name of "Willy's". Known by a throng of loyal customers as a hidden jewel among the high-priced, high-brow coiffeur salons, Willies has been around for a LONG time. Insiders tell us that the original Willies was established in this very spot about 100 years ago. (Is this possible?) The original Willy the Barber has long since departed Mother Earth, but the tradition of professional, honest haircuts, hot-towel shaves and no-nonsense efficient service endures.
The fact that this picture is as much about history as it is about a real moment in San Francisco Mission District time is appealing to us and that's just one reason why our Submissions Review Team selected it. Lorraine Castillo is an amateur photographer with a keen eye for what's really important in street photography, as seen previously in San Francisco EXPOSED Gallery 4 and in other pictures on this page as well. This image isn't perfect - for instance, the framing is a rotated a bit too far clockwise and the garbage can at the bottom front is a bit distracting. But then again, these imperfections, along with so much photographic "clutter" in the scene, really speak to the truth of the real-life situation. Bottom line - it isn't meant to be perfect and prissy. What you see is what you get and that's why the place is so busy! It's real life.
Lorraine realized, upon creating this wonderful example of Mission District life, that the woman wearing the red jacket on the TV screen above the chair, appears to be looking at what's going on inside the shop. You couldn't have asked for a better juxtaposition; the TV woman (a news anchorperson?) has her hand on her chin, casting her eyes down upon the really important show...the haircut!
This is yet another photograph that is so much a part of the overall San Francisco landscape that it would be a shame not to include in this exhibit!
"The Embarcadero Ball"
Gold Ball at the Bottom of the Spiral Staircase
Photography by CATHY YIH
Cathy Yih knows that San Francisco's Embarcadero Center is an important and highly recognizable part of the San Francisco 'landscape', and its spiral staircase with the gold ball at the bottom is, also, uniquely San Franciscan! We received more than a few versions of this same scene in response to our call for submissions, but this one caught the eye of our Submissions Review Team because of its very attractive composition.
This is not merely a 'photocopy' of an interesting and artistic architectural design. Cathy's photograph goes beyond that of just documenting something that's really eye-catching and contemporary. Instead, she went to work with her creative eye and her Nikon D90, with the mission of creating something different from the elements, so that the result is aesthetically stunning beyond that of the architecture. You can't ignore the curves that draw your eye to the ball. But it's more than that. Notice how the stairs in the top portion of the image are completely linear? The juxtaposition of the curved and linear stairs create an interesting quandary for the brain to solve. The two opposing stair portions are not necessarily disharmonious, but pique the viewer's interest. The rhythm of the stairs is broken by the huge diagonal concrete beam, creating even further interest for the brain.
We see basic geometric shapes that are like eye candy for the brain. Circles, swirls, rectangles and even a giant "Z" pattern running throughout the entire frame. Add to that the two huge triangles on either side of the concrete beam. There's a lot going on here and Cathy nailed it!
Brava for a very artistic addition to this exhibit!
"It's all about the View...Or is it?"
The Coit Tower, Telegraph Hill, North Beach
photography by MARILYN DALTON
San Francisco, California
Marilyn Dalton has been busy with her camera, documenting many of the historically and architecturally significant buildings throughout the San Francisco area. She's photographed everything from the Castro Theatre to the Mish House, and everything in-between and around them! In addition to maintaining a blog that's chock-full of architectural pictures from the area, her photography has also been published in numerous places and can be found hanging on the walls of many offices throughout the City.
Of all of her interesting photos, we wondered what it was about this particular image that motivated her to submit it for this exhibit? It is a pretty picture, no doubt about it. But then it occurred to us. The Coit Tower, a popular tourist destination, is generally used, photographically-speaking, for two purposes. First, the tower is photographed constantly, but mostly from a distance as part of the skyline. Second, it serves as a popular vantage point for taking spectacular sweeping cityscape pictures FROM its observation deck. In fact, one could photograph so many different SF areas and districts from the Coit Tower, using anything from a wide-angle lens to a high magnification zoom lens.
But Marilyn's picture is a completely different idea. Instead of photographing the tower from a distance or using it to photograph its surroundings, Marilyn chose to photograph the tower from its base, which emphasizes an interesting perspective while allowing the viewer to appreciate the scalloped vertical panels that run up the length of the structure. The sun creates shadows around the edge of the tower, allowing us to see the relief of the raised edges of each panel. This is not what most people see when they look at the tower. But it is something that is an important aspect of its design.
While the tower does offer amazing views of the City, it's really not that tall. At 210 feet, it's about the height of 10 average 2-story houses stacked on top of one another. Not a giant in the world of towers. Then again, it's on the top of a very tall hill, which was a very smart move and effectively adds many stories of height. It was built in 1933 as a bequest by Lillie Hitchcock Coit who loved San Francisco and wanted to leave a mark that would beautify the area for others to continue appreciating. And, well, that's exactly what her donation did and continues to do some 80 years later!
The Coit Tower is one of those favorite spots for tourists and locals alike, for photography, day trips, nice views and even...we've heard...marriage proposals.
By the way, if you visit Coit Tower, be warned that weekend traffic to the tiny parking lot at the top of the hill can prove to be a nightmarishly long wait. Better to take the shuttle up there. As well, once there, you'll likely encounter a life form you never expected. Wild parrots have thrived there for decades. Just don't feed them because there's a city ordinance prohibiting that.
Thank you Marilyn for the excellent picture.
More creative San Francisco photos from Lorraine Castillo:
Columbus Tower/Sentinel Building at Night
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