All posts in San Francisco

Photojournalism essay: San Francisco’s Mission District 2006-2008, Photography by Mark Gould

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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 mark@sfsthetik.com

(Click any image for full screen slide show)

 

 

The Change in San Francisco is Good, So Just Accept It and Other Fables

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I usually take my sweet time to write, but today I’m writing a fairly hasty response to an article I just read online by Gary Kamiya for San Francisco Magazine/Modern Luxury: San Francisco is Dead. Long Live San Francisco. Gary is a longtime resident of the city and while he’s both a former tenant and landlord, and feels strongly about the current plight faced by the fading middle class, the poor, the disabled, artists, activists, mentors and anyone else who can’t afford $3,000/month studio apartment. He doesn’t see the argument as black and white and writes intelligently about the many issues at play here now, and feels very strongly about the city’s ethnic diversity and maverick progressive tradition. He even wrote a book about it (Cool Gray City of Love.)

As do I, Gary does not approach the argument monolithically, which isn’t realistic and hardly useful in the end, I agree. Yes things have heated up to an extreme; it’s easy these days for politicians, activists and corporations to all engage in street theatre designed to attract ultimate media attention. And with a few proud exceptions, it’s hard to rely on the media to provide you with a sensible examination of all the issues. Kamiya’s article is thought provoking, well written, and attempts to suggest that the current “cultural, political and class war that has erupted in San Francisco – call it The Change – strikes me as wrongheaded to the point of surreality.” He argues that more of that surreality comes from the left, that there is no enemy and that there is confusion in making the argument about hi-tech companies and employees, new construction and city policies when the reality is about capitalism, pure and simple.

For the record I was part of the dot-com boom, an employee of high tech companies that collapsed when the first tech bubble collapsed in 2001 and was laid off twice. I became unemployed, then disabled, then broke. The circumstances then were not nearly this extreme, but still, many residents didn’t appreciate the new tech workers and their high salaries. That lack of appreciation was palpable and I didn’t like it. Today I rely on Social Security and am semi-retired, a transformed struggling artist and writer trying to survive and feeling very blessed to still be living in the city in my tiny and too expensive rent-controlled studio apartment. So like, Gary, I can see and relate to both sides too. Certain aspects of “The Change,” are about undeniable economic forces that are at play and may not be able to be stopped. And I agree it’s wrong to blankly blame or attack anyone, in this case tech workers, for being the sole cause of the problem. But I think that’s where I stop agreeing with him.

I don’t agree that that city elected officials can’t do anything to navigate and regulate this issue. To say only that “City Hall is in the business of stoking new business, welcoming new people and attracting new capital.” While Kamiya is also right to have us remember what an economic slump the city was in just a few years ago, and that we should appreciate the influx of new business and investment, I think that City Hall is in, or should be in, the business of a lot more than that. City Hall also enacts laws to protect its residents, to control development and to preserve culture here. While most cities do take the “Chamber of Commerce” approach to welcoming any business or investment at almost any cost, this is San Francisco, and the writer says he knows that.

I don’t think anyone knows at this point how all of this will play out. The city has enacted an affordable housing plan to build 30,000 new homes in a few years – we need more like 100,000 and that seems unlikely. As it has always been, city activism has it’s place, as do “we” artists, writers, activists, mentors, middle-class or low-income residents. As do many residents who grew up here and have been here longer than I, I agree that not only is city preservation important, and so is sound planning and development, sufficient affordable housing.  San Francisco should continue to be a supporter and voice for diversity, the disenfranchised,  low and middle income residents. I don’t want to see more artists forced out of the city. Including me. Now I’m going to continue to think about it all, and write about it some more.

Mark Gould

 

 

Mark Gould is an artist, writer and editor following trends in art, culture, technology and digital media.

San Francisco Eviction March – April 13, 2014

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It could be said that housing activists, political street artists and big corporate technology companies are all fluent in the use of different tools to raise media and public attention. No cynicism intended; I’ve been wondering when the seemingly dormant political and social action establishment in San Francisco would emerge to leave its imprint on the ongoing developments concerning the lack of affordable housing in the city, the fallout on some tenants being forced out of  their quarters by the current frenzied demand ongoing during the grab for almost any rental property, at almost any price.

via Mission Local
Mission Local reports that an estimated group of 200 people walked to and protested against the conversion of a seven-unit rental apartment building on Guerrero St. that was bought and converted to a private residence, owned by a Google lawyer, Jack Halprin, two years ago. Several signs in the crowd read “Google, don’t be evil. Make Jack Halprin stop evicting teachers,”

 

Teachers Ask Google Why a Google Lawyer Is Evicting Tenants

 

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I don’t have an idea when or if the protests will continue, grow in numbers or get more media attention. I do know there are many forces for change in San Francisco who have had an important role to play in building the city’s future and have long made a difference in what happens during critical times in the city.

 

 

 

 

Acrobats and a GMuni Director Block Google Bus

Mission Local video April 1, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Images of May Day, Delores Park, San Francisco, 2007

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It’s taken so many years, but now I have the time to review thousands of shots taken over the years, do a lot of editing and post-processing, and put what I think are some of my better images online in various places. One great shoot was this one, a Labor Day and immigration protest march starting in Delores Park and then weaving through The Mission on May 1, 2007. Speeches, signs and people with an important purpose; what a great place for a photographer to find himself that day!

May Day, Delores Park, The Mission, San Francisco, 2007
May Day, Delores Park, The Mission, San Francisco, 2007
May Day, Delores Park, The Mission, San Francisco, 2007
May Day, Delores Park, The Mission, San Francisco, 2007

Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press (podcast)

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Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press is celebrated by an array of public programs at the National Gallery of Art, including lectures, a concert, gallery talks, and a variety of offerings in the Gallery Shops. All programs are free of charge in the East Building Auditorium unless otherwise noted. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Featuring 125 working proofs and edition prints produced between 1972 and 2010 at Crown Point Press in San Francisco, one of the most influential printmaking studios of the last half century, Yes, No, Maybe goes beyond celebrating the flash of inspiration and the role of the imagination to examine the artistic process as a sequence of decisions. The stages of intaglio printmaking reveal this process in very particular ways. Working proofs record occurrences both deliberate and serendipitous. They are used to monitor and steer a print’s evolution, prompting evaluation and approval, revision, or rejection. Each proof compels a decision: yes, no, maybe. Among the 25 artists represented are those with long ties to Crown Point Press—Richard Diebenkorn, John Cage, Chuck Close, and Sol LeWitt—as well as those whose association is more recent, such as Mamma Andersson, Julie Mehretu, Jockum Nordström, Laura Owens, and Amy Sillman.

The exhibition is on display at the National Gallery through January 5th, 2014.

Judith Brodie, curator and head, department of modern prints and drawings, National Gallery of Art, and Adam Greenhalgh, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, National Gallery of Art
On view at the National Gallery of Art from September 1, 2013, through January 5, 2014, Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press features 125 working proofs and edition prints produced at this printmaking studio—one of the most influential of the last half century—by 25 artists between 1972 and 2010. The exhibition goes beyond celebrating the flash of inspiration and the role of the imagination to examine the artistic process as a sequence of decisions. In this lecture recorded on September 8, exhibition curators Judith Brodie and Adam Greenhalgh explain how the stages of intaglio printmaking reveal this process in very particular ways.

 

 

 

New Work: Mark Gould Photography – San Francisco Stratford Hotel

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o.k. back to tending to the blog after a break. Doing a lot of photography and getting some great new shots in SF. Here’s an edit of one taken downtown last week. All images are for sale as large format prints on archival art papers at this gallery store:

 

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Dreamtime: New Surrealism at Mirus Gallery – Opening Reception: June 8th, 2013

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There’s an exciting New Surrealism exhibit at Mirus Gallery curated by Paul Hemming, opening Saturday, June 8th, and, taking part in the Yerba Buena Gallery Walk this weekend. Paul has put together really quite a superb group of contemporary artists working in the surreal genre for this show. Dreamtime: New Surrealism considers how how concepts about the unimagined and the fantastic have developed over time, and the artists featured in the show represent a range of artists working in the Surrealist tradition, from Pop Surrealism to Postmodern appropriation of surrealistic imagery.

Coining the term “surrealism,” almost 100 years ago, the French poet  Guillaume Apollinaire, named “surrealism” as  realism  beyond reality, “sur – real.” And after the turn of the last century,  Surrealism was officially founded, when André Breton wrote Le Manifeste du Surréalisme. In it, he defined Surrealism as “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express – verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner – the actual functioning of thought.” In this, he proposed that artists should seek access to their unconscious mind in order to make art inspired by this realm.

The original Surrealists were seeking a reprieve from the violence of war and investigating the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud – many themselves underwent psychoanalysis, seeking to access their subconscious in order to make art inspired and unlocked by the imagined and the unreal. A century later many artists continue to use fantastical imagery rooted in dreamscapes to relate to the realities of the increasingly fragmented, global, and at times senseless world we live in.

I wonder, are journeys into surrealism today that much more fertile for artists with the world itself so much more fantastic? Or do you believe that we as humans have the same potential for imagination as we always did?

Links of interest:

Origins of Surrealism, Art History Archive
Comparison of Dada and Surrealism, Art History Unstuffed

(editor’s note: the images shown here are from the individual artists’ various sites and collections online and as of this publication we do not know the actual artwork to be shown at the exhibition.)

 

New New Surrealism at Mirus Gallery

Joseba Eskubi

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Michael Zansky

Dreamtime: New Surrealism considers how this approach has developed over time, changing to meet the aesthetic tastes of contemporary artists, yet rooted in an essentially similar practice of delving into the subconscious to reinterpret perceptions of reality. The artists featured in the show represent a range of artists working in the Surrealist tradition, from Pop Surrealism to Postmodern appropriation of surrealistic imagery. Artists work featured at the exhibit include: Scott Anderson, Ebenezer Archer, NoMe Edonna, Joseba Eskubi, Christine Gray, Joe Hengst, Marcus Jansen, D’Metrius Rice, Kate Shaw, Er ling Sjovold, Marlene Steyn, Alex Stursberg, Michael Zansy, and Zio Ziegler.

New Surrealism at Mirus Gallery

Michael Zansky

Kate Shaw

Kate Shaw

New New Surrealism at Mirus Gallery

Scott Anderson

One can’t help but be impressed at the breadth and range of the artists brought together for this exhibition, an amazing journey through the 21st century version of what’s beyond real. A definite exhibit to catch if you are taking part in the Yerba Buena Gallery Walk this weekend.

-Mark

 

 

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