As a web designer and photographer at New College in The Mission during most of the 2000’s I carried a camera everywhere I went. And in San Francisco’s vibrant and eclectic Mission, there is a choice of assignments to choose from on almost any day. More so than at any other time previously in my work, I shot an incredible volume of photojournalism work at different events at New College and elsewhere in the Mission between 2001 and 2008.
I was ambivalent about doing much with these photos until very recently. I have kept literally tens of thousands of digital shots on hard drives from that period, never being strongly motivated to curate and publish the material until now, which I will do in a series.
I’m not coming from the typical place of bravado or self promotion when I say I think these images are remarkable. I’m a good craftsman at the things I do and think I’m a good photographer. But what makes these images so special are the people whose determination, joy, love, vision and intentions are brought forth in the world. I thought about getting this first series out because I’ve been depressed and overwhelmed by the incredible amount of world events all going on at once. The news machine is coughing up images of war, genocide, the bombing and killing of innocent people, people of color being gunned down on the streets of America and suicides. It was great to rediscover these images and see the absolute beauty, dignity and joy of these people – it radiated off the screen and struck me -these are special folks. Some so queer and so adorable. Others, so many different colors, united by a purpose – to speak out for immigration reform.
It’s an interesting juxtaposition of times in just a few years comparing that time around the world and in San Francisco. In 2006-2008 most of us could still afford an apartment, but the economy had been gutted, we were still at war and on the verge of political change. Then as now, such colorful and unique images from the Mission are one of the more colorful displays of a country filled with beautiful, self-empowered, politically and socially conscious young people carrying messages of love and change. This is just as important and a healing counterpart to the images of hate and war that compete for our attention, and maybe an important reminder of what is beautiful and good.
Mark Gould, August 2014
(all images ©2014 Mark Gould photography. If you are interested in republishing or exhibiting these images at your gallery or institution direct all inquiries to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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