Categories: Visual Arts

Untouched photos reveal a day in the life of S.F.

Wanting to keep photography honest in the age of digital manipulation, “Project 24 San Francisco” chronicles 24 hours of life in this city in images created without computer doctoring or other forms of falsification.

The group exhibition, which is the second edition of the project, can be seen through Sept. 10 at the Dryansky Gallery, the final stop on its San Francisco tour.

Created by photographer Paul Lucia, “Project 24” originated in 2012 as a showcase for neo-verite, a form of photography aimed at capturing truth as the artist sees it, without digital or any other kind of alteration.

The project involves selecting 24 locally based artists and, at random, assigning each of them a San Francisco neighborhood to photograph and a one-hour period during which to work. Shooting day: the winter solstice.

All receive the equivalent of one roll of film and can photograph whatever they wish with the camera of their choice. But they cannot prearrange, digitally alter, or otherwise manipulate their images.

Additionally, in a change from the 2012 guidelines, the artists must shoot in black and white, a mode associated with documentary and art photography and with veracity and emotional power. The photos must be processed and enlarged by hand.

The result is a day-in-the-life pictorial diary of San Francisco as it existed during the last winter solstice — 3:03 p.m., Dec. 21, 2014, to 3:03 p.m., Dec. 22, 2014. The images appear chronologically, with RJ Muna’s misty “3:03-4:03 p.m.: Twin Peaks” leading things off.

In tune with the project’s emphasis on individuality, the styles and sensibilities reflected in the show are all over the map. Cohesion comes from the black-and-whiteness of the images and the common focus of the artists on capturing the landscape, vibe or soul of their assigned neighborhood.

In some instances, viewers will quickly be able to identify the pictured location. That’s the case with Jo Babcock’s “5:03-6:03 p.m.: Castro District,” a dramatically lit shot of that neighborhood’s beloved movie theater.

Gabriela Hasbun’s image of a tea house in “10:03-11:03 p.m.: Little Russia” presents one of San Francisco’s lesser-known communities to viewers. Local color pervades “1:03-2:03 a.m.: North Beach,” Vince Donovan’s portrait of a couple in a neighborhood watering hole.

Trees and weather conditions make for a dramatic landscape in Steve Molnar’s “2:03-3:03 a.m.: Golden Gate Park West,” while Erik Auerbach combines visual poetry with earthy realities in “9:03-10:03 a.m.: Potrero Hill.” Mundaneness looks striking in Gordon Szeto’s “7:03-8:03 p.m.: Financial District,” in which garbage bins dominate the foreground,

Chinatown, Nob Hill, Sea Cliff, the Mission District, Hunters Point, SOMA, Civic Center and Ocean Beach also are pictured.


Project 24 San Francisco
Where: Dryansky Gallery, 2120 Union St., S.F.
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays–Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays; closes Sept. 10
Admission: Free
Contact: (415) 932-9302,

Anita Katz

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