Steve

In Osage Street
The Mission
Wednesday morning

***

My San Francisco story includes at least two distinct chapters so far.

In chapter one, for the first sixteen years of my life here, I sat in a room in the middle of the night, pushed buttons and listened to public radio programs. Five nights a week, I worked as an announcer at the venerable KQED-FM. While most people slept, I delivered the news and weather and ran a control board. It sure didn’t do wonders for my social life, but in one key way I loved it: my days were free. So, while most people worked, I played. I was into nature and photography and countless weekday afternoons, I headed out to explore the city and the beautiful Bay Area. I walked and I hiked and shot photos. I roamed the city’s beaches and cliffs, all the lovely parks, the quirky staircases and the obscure lookout points. Just as often, I ventured beyond the city into the Marin Headlands, the redwood forests of the Peninsula, and throughout the East Bay hills.

Chapter two began in 2004. I lost the radio job. What to do next? Well, I did what I love: grabbed my camera and headed out to the streets to shoot and explore. But this time there was a new twist. I gradually began to notice something that, for whatever reason, had never caught my eye in the many years I’d lived in the city: its prolific graffiti. At first, the vibrant colors and funky shapes grabbed me. Then, the mystery. What did the controversial art mean? Who was creating it and why? How were they getting away with it? I became obsessed and devoted myself to looking for answers and documenting the scene. Over the last six years, sometimes alone and often with friends, I’ve hunted all over the Bay Area to find and photograph as much graffiti as possible. It’s been a fascinating and totally unexpected adventure. I’ve crawled into abandoned buildings and tunnels packed with huge “galleries” of illegal art, searched behind highway barriers, hiked along train tracks through gritty industrial areas, and scoured San Francisco’s neighborhoods street by street, alley by alley to find artistic hidden treasures. It’s been the most involving, energizing and challenging photography of my life.

In the middle of it all I decided to compile my photos into a book. Then I made another.

Now, it’s on to chapter three…

***

You can see the rest of Steve’s photo shoot here.

There is another photo entry about Steve on CALIBER.

***

Find Steve on flickr here: www.flickr.com/photos/phunk

Also, here are the links to both of his books on Amazon.

Bay Area Graffiti:

http://www.amazon.com/Bay-Area-Graffiti-Steve-Rotman/dp/0979966604/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263780207&sr=8-1

and San Francisco Street Art:

http://www.amazon.com/San-Francisco-Street-Steve-Rotman/dp/3791340735/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263780266&sr=1-1

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