San Francisco is one of the most fascinating cities in the United States; over the course of two centuries it has experienced the entire evolution of American civilization firsthand, fostering the birth of artistic and cultural currents that have marked the ages.
The history of San Francisco and the Bay Area more generally is now told in a beautiful volume published by Taschen and entitled “San Francisco. Portrait of a City.” Through 500 photographs it traces the early years of industrial development and the stories of the free spirits of the 1970s through the lights and fervor of the Roaring Twenties.
The volume contains images from archives and private collections, taken by some of the most celebrated photographers, who over the course of their careers have been inspired by the California city. Inside are portraits of the many innovators who have contributed to the development of the city, a place that represents “a crystal ball in which to see a preview of what will come to us in a few years,” as Michele Masneri had described it in The Passenger magazine’s recent volume devoted to the city.
The 480-page collected shots also show a city skyline far from the one we know today, dominated by the Golden Gate Bridge of which construction work from the 1930s is visible. In addition to the Bay Area’s unique climate, “San Francisco. Portrait of a City” also shows areas the multicultural soul of the city, with images of the huge Chinatown district or Fillmore, the one historically home to Jews and Japanese.
You can purchase the book on the official Taschen website.