Photographing the Beginning of the End of ‘Old San Francisco’

“Janet Delaney was a 26-year-old photography student when she arrived in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood in 1978. Then, SoMa was still home to working-class immigrant families, small-business owners, artists, and a vibrant gay/leather community. With relatively low rents, ‘it had a long history of being a port of entry to the city,’ says Delaney. ‘There’s a quote from one of my neighbors that I love: ‘South of Market was a place where you could get yourself together.’

But SoMa was already changing, as the city moved forward with decades-long plans to redevelop the area.…as Delaney thought about the thousands of homes demolished…, she soon focused her lens on her neighbors. Their existences in SoMa were in peril, too.…

In spite of the fact that she’s witnessed the city transform again and again—or perhaps because of it—Delaney doesn’t completely mourn for the future of San Francisco. She went walking around SoMa just yesterday, she says, and enjoyed the energy and bustle of people on bikes and in cafes and at work. The city’s dramatic changes remind her, a little bit, of New York City.…”

Photo: Janet Delaney

Sent us by Kevin Kelly

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

One Response to Photographing the Beginning of the End of ‘Old San Francisco’

  1. it is nice, important too, when someone photographs the "old" things, before they fall apart or are changed. It is one reason, I suppose, that I enjoy your pics of old barns and other old buildings. I feel that if it is not done, it is like losing one of those seldom spoken ancient tribal languages. We lose a part of humanity.

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