Wednesday, May 6, 2009

True Confession... I shot her kids!

I was getting some good results with a cheap Kodak Instamatic during the 60's, and I changed to a better camera system at the beginning of the 1970's.... and with better results... in spite of never developing my own pictures. In the early Castro of the 70's, it was a changing neighborhood... but a lot of residents and businesses remained ... it was a mixed neighborhood. There were small pockets of hold outs... hoping the neighborhood would somehow remain the same as the 40's and 50's.... status quo. I met many of the store owners... and knew their concerns. Some voiced legitimate reasons, some out of fear, on both sides of the change. I resided nearby... I usually walked up and back home on Alpine Terrace, but grabbed a #24 bus whenever the weather was acting up...

I spent time with the owner of GeroreGianna Bakery at 420 Castro Street. She and her late husband ran it for many years. The location was perfect... a transfer point for all kinds of buses and streetcars... and people passing them at all hours of the day, just a few yards from today's Harvey Milk Plaza. After her husband's death, she ran it mostly by herself ... it was somewhat run down, and needed a fresh coat of paint. I asked her if I could put a display of my photos in the window... and it soon became a window gallery... at all hours. Once in a while I had a request to shoot events, or special occasions, and political happenings. But the most unusual request came via the phone early on a Saturday morning in December of 1975.... and a woman's voice asking me "TO SHOOT HER KIDS"... she liked my photos in the window and wanted a keepsake of those times.. Her two daughters made it very easy for me... I followed them around, and seldom had the need to give directions. The backdrop was Golden Gate Park. The results... are what you see here.

Last year for me marked many 30th Anniversaries... it seemed the decade was filled with the sound of progress. Many events have taken place... sometimes, right in front of my own eyes... or handy camera. The whole year 1978 was one continuous event... and in a way, I documented those times ... from my perspective in the gay media.. Often, I am reunited with people from that era... but did not know them at the time. One of those is someone I have yet to meet in person. He has a treasure trove of images and stories on his page He's been doing it for over 13 years. Uncle Don recently had a visitor, Juana Samayoa, looking for Danny Nicoletta regarding Harvey Milk. She also had a videotape of an interview she had done with harvey Milk during her morning TV talk show in '78. (Watch the interview here! --->

While on Uncle Don's site she emailed me and asked if I remembered her and her family, and an afternoon in Golden Gate Park in 1976. (The girls are Sara and Marie)
It was a day of magic... and still fresh in the minds of those in the shoot. Jauna did not remember calling me, or asking me "to shoot her kids!" But I do... and it feels good to relive a few of those treasured moments . The girls are both married, and have kids of their own. Juana just moved to Southern California... and is a character actress.
Here is a link to her own page:
Here is a link to daughter Marie's site:

and more links here --->

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am very impressed with your vivid recollections of the past and your great photographic history of a wonderful era.

Keep up the good work!


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