Remembering my years Living in San Francisco (1979-1984)

(This was when I really took up photography. I took a class from a teacher in Oakland and learned how to print from him. I did all my own printing during this time. I never printed again after digital photography came into being)

This is a selfie taken in my hotel room in North Beach. The whole time I lived in San Francisco, I only lived in Hotel Rooms, but they had great views. I always have lots of plants and books no matter where I live. Shirt I bought it Chinatown. I didn´t know what the symbol said, but I think it was something sexy by the way Chinese men looked at me on the street when I wore it.
San Francisco Bay. with Golden Gate Bridge During these years I was very much into hand coloring photos that I took in B&W.
The Corner of Broadway and Columbus Avenue. Photo taken from my room at the Hotel Americana
North Beach up to Hob Hill.
William F. Burroughs at City Lights Bookstore cerca 1983
Romolo Avenue, North Beach, San Francisco
Window Washer. I took photo one day at work as I was looking out of my panoramic window from where I worked for an architectural firm on Clay St. (photo is hand-tinted)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gathering–Opening Night at Photo Gallery

In response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge:  Gathering

I took photo at the opening night of a Richard Avedon photo exhibit in San Francisco in 1980.  The photos were of the British artist Francis Bacon as seen on left.

Rainy Day Memories of my San Francisco Years

May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently through the world and know it’s beauty all the days of your life.

Apache blessing

It’s been raining for 3 days in New York City: for me, a drag. The rain, not to mention ennui, has brought back to me the memory of a particular day in 1980.

After spending Christmas with my Mother in L.A.,  I had just returned to San Francisco, with so much relief that I can still feel inside me that emotion I felt on that day. Back home in North Beach, the first thing I wanted to do, which is what I mostly always did on my days off from work, was go out on the Bay and take photos, my favorite activity at the time.  Afterwards I often indulged myself at a great San Francisco restaurant.

I was on the Aquatic Park Pier (one of my favorite places to take photos from) when a man, with an expensive camera in his hand, said to me, in passing, and with disparagement, that it was too cloudy and dim to take photos. I thought that was exactly the right time to take photos.  That was why I was there.  I thought the inclement weather would make for some dramatic photos.

That’s the Golden Gate Bridge in case you didn’t recognize it.

This was a photo I took on that day during the last week of 1980 of San Francisco Bay.  I loved going to the Harvey Milk Rec Center where they had a facility where anyone could go and print photos (B&W only) for a very small fee.  For five years I printed there, a minimum of once a week. I often printed on very heavy textured paper, because I liked the look, as I did in the above photo. Especially, in the sky, you can see the texture of the paper.  A version of this photo which I printed on regular glossy photo paper got published in a local San Francisco magazine.

Later, I colored this photo with Marshall’s photo tints. When I printed on such heavy textured paper, it made hand coloring so much easier, and more effective. (the heavy, matte, textured paper is so absorbent) . It looks more painterly than photographic.  Maybe I liked the painterly look so much, because I really wanted to paint.  Now, I prefer painting to doing photography.  Photography never gave me a feeling of complete artistic fulfillment, although it provided a little, and hand-tinting added a little more.

San Francisco Bay (1980) hand tinted.
San Francisco Bay (1980) hand tinted.

During the first half of the 20th Century, and before color photography, hand-tinting photos was popular, but now hardly anyone does it, and it looks antiquated. However, I think it’s really fun to do and I like the look.  I also learned retouching, which was an easy way for me to correct my photographic problems like parts too light, or not contrasty enough.  Now, one can correct those problems on the computer.

If you are interested in hand-tinting photos, on another blog of mine, I did a post on how to hand-tint black and white photos that you might be interested in visiting. This post also shows a few other hand-tinted photos of San Francisco I made while living there.


This is a self-portrait of myself (actually, using color film) that I made around that same time. I worked then as a secretary at an architectural firm (MBT Associates) in San Francisco that had lovely, artistic-looking interiors.  I especially liked their large windows, as you can see in this photo, and the picturesque views out the windows of Chinatown.  I used to go there to take photos on the weekends.  In 1980, we had Wang word processors that I enjoyed writing with, after having used the old-fashioned typewriter for years.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

Please forgive me if I’ve shown this photo before, which I think I did sometime ago, so I’m hoping no one will remember, but I couldn’t find another that illustrated this challenge.

Back in 1980 when I took this photo, one had to manually progress the film on one’s camera. Sometimes the film didn’t move or one would forget to advance the film to the next frame, so one would get an overlay, which was what happened in this photo. On the bottom left of the photo, in North Beach, is our neighborhood derelict, who lived on the street, sitting on the curb.  On the right side of the photo is the famous photographer Richard Avedon signing autographs at a gallery opening of his photos.  I think the juxtaposition of these two people from the opposite ends of the social spectrum is what is interesting about this photo.  During the day, I took the photo of the derelict and the hungry i, a San Francisco nightclub which featured topless entertainment, and then that night I went to the Avedon opening at an elite art gallery, so another juxtaposition is that of the hungry i (a sleezy North Beach joint) and the elite Nob Hill art gallery in which you can see a man in the background looking at the exhibit.


Below is another photo that I took on the same night of the Avedon exhibit. You can see Avedon’s portrait of Francis Bacon on the back wall. What I think is interesting about this photo is the juxtaposition of the 3 women. These 3 woman are all entirely different types. One is very sexual, the girl in the middle looks like an innocent college girl, and the girl on the left looks like she is the type that is exactly in-between the other two types.

I consider this photo the best one I’ve ever taken.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

I made this self-portrait inside my room at the Marconi Hotel, Broadway and Columbus, in North Beach, San Francisco (1982).  I bought that shirt in Chinatown, San Francisco.  I just liked the design and didn’t know that it was an actual word. Later, however, this Chinese woman told me it said “Love,” but she acted like as if there were a sexual connotation to it.  I wasn’t sure if that was right, but it made me self-conscious about wearing it.