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 SanFrancisco 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.
HashiraYamamoto is a photographer, but he also describes himself as a traveler and researcher. Over the course of his career as an artist, he has visited 41 countries and 161 cities around the world, in which he has shot some of his photo series, to tell stories i cultures and of all the incredible people he has encountered. Over the years he has had a close look at his home nation of Japan, cultivating a passion for traditional landscapes along the Silk Road. Yamamoto in his Asuka series has reinterpreted the tradition of historic Japanese buildings through an infrared lens, creating a dialogue between ancient and contemporary Japan to an effect that immerses traditional temples and gardens in a glitchy, vaporwave world.
The saturated colors of the photos alter the perception of a solid tradition that in some respects has remained intact over the centuries. Cultural references are not altered, architectures are not emptied of meaning, but rather taken in a new contemporary guise. Hashira Yamamoto had precisely the goal with this infrared lens to enhance even more the quiet and contemplative magic that testifies to the inherent spirituality of the places photographed.