I started a new job recently in San Francisco. Working for the city, near downtown in the Civic Center. It’s been a busy commute––traveling beween Sacramento and the Bay 4-5 times a week––but along the way, and over my lunch break, I can make a few pictures. Seeing the city through the eyes of a commuter is new. Most mornings I watch the sun rise over the Sacramento River Delta as I head in on the train, then cross the Carquinez Bridge near Martinez to hug the coast until hitting Richmond and the BART. In the process I’m getting to know the intricate workings of public transportation in the greater SF Bay Area, and even finding time to reconnect with old friends and family: like James from 9th street and my 93-year-old grandfather in Alameda.
Sometimes I think about quitting photography though. The difficulty of earning a living while maintaining a fulfilling artistic practice is tedious. And people don’t look at photographs the same way anymore. Maybe they dont hold the same value (I was sharing my book with a friend recently who, after flipping through a few pages, put it away to show me an Instagram he was really excited about). But I get depressed if I’m not making pictures regularly. And because finding the time and money to pursue meaningful projects often contradicts everyday necessity, I usually turn to making work where it fits with my day jobs. In China I did this while employed as a movie star’s English tutor. But back home in California now it’s become important for me to say something about this place, and my place in it. There is a lot of clutter to sort through––The California Dream; The Golden State; West Is The Best, et cetera, etc, and so on––and I’m not totally sure where this will lead, but for now I’ll just stick to making these personal pictures, punching in and punching out on the time clock.
Cover + 9 spreads of my work from China as seen in Photo RAW Magazine this month. Huge thanks to editor Hannamari Shakya for the insightful layout and beautiful production.
Photo RAW is publishing quarterly some really interesting photography from diverse generes so grab a copy if you see it on newsstands!
Lovers Point. Pacific Grove 2012.
November 16, 1922–
January 15, 2013
Chris on break. Monterey 2009.
California diptych: Sehra. Monterey 2011 / Ocean Ave. Monterey 2011
Alex. 29 Palms 2011.
Eddie. Calexico 2011.
Family Photo. Monterey 2009.
California diptych: James on his fire escape. San Francisco 2010 / Sacramento 2012.
Seaside. California 2010.
Chris + Chanella. Monterey 2011.