Saturday, May 9, 2009


inside the Port of San Francisco
China Basin
Friday afternoon


There are so many things by which San Francisco is recognized. We have the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Giants, Lombard Street, Union Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf, among countless other things that appear on postcards. What really defines this city are the people, who come from literally every walk of life and exist together like pieces of a puzzle. Each one is unique, but together they create a beautiful composition that expresses a peaceful coexistence not seen elsewhere.

So many distinct people call this place home, from the Marina girl to the Tenderloin crackhead to the SoMa yuppie to the Haight Ashbury hippie to the Mission hipster and everyone in between. Though it may not be obviously inherent at first, we all share one common trait. We are all daydreamers and risk-takers, not letting any preconceived notion or cast determine who we are or what it means to live life. That’s what I love about this city. There are so many unique individuals but no one is ever alone. I believe it’s this state of mind that draws so many people to this city, whether it’s on a subconscious level or outwardly intentional.

It’s exactly what brought me here the first time. I was off to college and the next few years were some of the best, as they should be. And then it happened. I fell in love with a girl.

Suddenly the city was more vibrant than ever. It was as if I’d been viewing our city through a standard definition lens, and then seeing it in HD, as life (and TV) should be experienced. The food, the sights, the sounds, and the smells all rang with such conviction that I was convinced I was literally high on love. And then it happened. I loved, and then I lost.

The downward spiral clouded my judgment and I didn’t see life the same way, and that included the city. It just didn’t feel the same to me. So I moved away, down to the South Bay where I’m originally from, to chase other dreams and start anew. The next couple of years were filled with ups and downs, but the spirited energy of life that only exists in San Francisco wasn’t there. It took me a long time to realize this, but San Francisco didn’t hurt me, it never has. It will always be there, vibrant and bold as ever. So I did what any daydreamer would do. I packed up shop and moved back, because I left my heart in San Francisco and now I’m here to chase it.


Gene's blog is

The rest of Gene's photo shoot can be seen here.


Starlene said...

With every new and distinctly personal story I hear, I want to come visit more and more. : )

Starlene said...

And I especially like the Pier 48 photos.

Alexandra said...

Beautifully written and wonderfully photographed.

Bee said...

I always enjoy listening to what you SF people have to say about your city.

This photo of Gene has great movement -- but there is also some grainy, textured quality to it. Really nice.

robinbird said...

well you sure have a way of capturing the essence of things. i realize the words belong to the person you interview but the entire project is truly amazing in it's focus and succinctness. and each portrait is beautifully captured!

Char said...

what a gorgeous write