In 2019, Pier 24 Photography mounted the first half of a two-part institutional retrospective, “Ten Years of Pier 24 Photography: Looking Back.” That show surveyed the museum’s collection, simultaneously offering a truncated history of photography. The recently opened second half of the exhibit — “Looking Forward” — is a tastemaker of a show, sampling trends in the best of the best contemporary photography.

Whereas “Looking Back” was arranged thematically, “Looking Forward” subdivides the pier’s 28,000-square-foot exhibition space into 16 single-artist galleries, each revolving around a single project or theme in that photographer’s larger body of work. Even though they aren’t grouped thematically, it’s easy to see how these contemporary photographers are working in stylistic traditions.

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Max Blue writes about the visual arts and modern culture for the San Francisco Examiner and other publications.

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