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September 20, 2022

Public Matters: San Francisco During the 1980s Through Janet Delaney’ Lens

Public Matters centers primarily around the Latino community and Mission District during the 1980s, a rather tumultuous political period. Using a large format camera and color film, American photographer Janet Delaney took to the streets with San Francisco natives to capture them during community gatherings, like the annual Cinco de Mayo parade, during political rallies, like the Peace, Jobs, and Justice marches, or simply while lounging in front of their homes and businesses.

Public Matters captures the spirit of San Francisco during a period of high immigration and political strife, documenting the resilience and energy of the city’s communities.

Foxy Lady, 1983

Baby with Laotian Hat, 1983

Reserve Officers’ Training Corp, Cinco de Mayo Parade, 1983

Woman in Brown Suit, 1983

Dancers on Stage, 1984

Dog with Ribs, Mission at 18th Street, 1984

Masked Man Selling Newspapers, 24th Street, 1984

Movie Posters, Mission Street, 1984

Pawnshop, Mission Street, 1984

Virgin Mary in the Ice, 1984

Dominque DiPrima, on Stage, 1985

Man and Woman at Carnaval, 1985

Three Young Women, 1985

Two Young Teens, 1985

“Cookies not Contras”, Peace, Jobs and Justice Parade, 1986

AIDS Activists, First Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade, 1986

Crowd Waiting, 1986

Mother and Daughter with Baby Carriage, at Peace, Jobs and Justice Parade, 1986

Mother and Daughters Behind Barricade, 1986

Socialism!, 1986

Watching the First Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade, 1986

“I May Not Get There . . .” First Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade, 1986

Three Contestants, 1988

(Photo © Janet Delaney)

1 comment:

  1. Great photographs. In the early 80s I worked a few blocks from 16th and Mission and lived about 1/3 mile from 24th and Mission. The district had an edgy, working class vibe. It also had one of the best micro-climates in San Francisco. I never saw so-called homeless there because they kept to the financial district and tourist areas that tolerated them. I won't say the Mission district was a great place 40 years ago, but there was plenty of variety and a chance to meet interesting and nice folks.




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