There are days where you want to go somewhere different, somewhere new,
somewhere unexplored but that already feels familiar,
somewhere on the cusp on being transformed but still steeped in the old.
And Janet Delaney’s South of Market reminds us of just that.
A series of images taken from 1978-1986 when Janet first moved to the South of Market area of San Francisco, these capture how the slightly run-down neighborhood of old business and homes was gradually being replaced with new build and industry. While families moved to the suburbs, artists and hipsters moved into the neighbourhoods left behind and now made more affordable.
In her beautiful book that documents these images and times, Janet talks about how when she first moved to South of Market, it had developed a reputation for petty crime and one of her fears was being mugged on the street. An immediate response, that came quite naturally to her, was that if she wandered the streets with her camera and made friends with the neighbours, she was less likely to fall prey to someone she already knew. And that’s where this project really started. From a desire to embrace her surroundings, and replace the fear with the familiar.
Crime is something that happens between winos and gays and Latino youths. It isn’t thought to be something that happens when speculators exploit a political situation and just move in and displace 5,000 people over ten years. That’s not crime, that’s business. Which makes headlines… and which makes profits? Jim Pomeroy, artist and Langton Street resident
Peppered with interviews and musings like these, filled with first names and peeks behind drawing room curtains and cafe counters, this book is like soft blanket and a comfy sofa. A great read that takes you back in time, if only just a little way down.
All images borrowed with thanks from various sources and (c) Janet Delaney