The Visualist: A San Francisco love affair with architecture (and walking)

For 10 years, Julie Gebhardt has taken two photos a day of The City’s electic architecture

San Francisco is known for its eclectic mix of architecture: the Beaux-Arts style of City Hall and other government buildings; the strikingly modern skyscrapers and high-end condos; the mix of Victorian, Edwardian and even Doelger homes.

Julie Gebhardt fell hard for The City and its architecture when she came up from LA for college at S.F. State.

“I love the variety of architecture in San Francisco and the way so many different building styles can be found together in a neighborhood in such close proximity,” Gebhardt said. “The diversity is visually exciting.”

Photographer Julie Gebhardt celebrates The City’s architecture with a form of portraiture of the personalities of the people who live within the buildings she photographs. (Julie Gebhardt)

Photographer Julie Gebhardt celebrates The City’s architecture with a form of portraiture of the personalities of the people who live within the buildings she photographs. (Julie Gebhardt)

She ended up staying and raising a family here. Upon discovering Instagram in 2011, she focused her iPhone camera to celebrate what was in front of her: the different styles of homes and buildings around The City.

“I discovered I was attracted to buildings and the unique and quirky details that tell a story about the residents,” Gebhardt said. “My photographs of buildings are a form of portraiture of the people who live in them.”

A glance at her Instagram profile shows a delightfully technicolor tableau. Gebhardt hones in on details or patterns of buildings, juxtaposes elements of buildings or highlights a vehicle out front.

“There is always something to compel my interest,” she said. “Even when returning to streets I’ve previously walked on, I can see each with a fresh eye.”

Being able to see things fresh has allowed her to keep up with posting two photos a day for more than 10 years running. Gebhardt credits a community of fellow photographers for helping her keep it going.

“I am fortunate to have met a still-expanding circle of photo-walk friends,” she said. “I love walking, and I love looking at everything. Taking photos is a natural extension of those two activities. It extends the pleasure by capturing the moment and allowing for the possibility of sharing it.”

(Julie Gebhardt)

(Julie Gebhardt)

(Julie Gebhardt)

(Julie Gebhardt)

(Julie Gebhardt)

(Julie Gebhardt)

Caltrain seeks $260 million to complete electrification

State budget surplus eyed to finish transformative rail project

Future of the Castro Theatre? Depends where you sit

Historical preservation and cinephile experience up against live-event upgrades

Savoring the Warriors’ remarkable run: Five lessons learned

Every postseason tells a different story. This one might be a fairy tale