Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Street Photography (San Francisco’s Street Life)

25 August 2014


1. San Francisco, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. San Francisco, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. San Francisco, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. San Francisco, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. San Francisco, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. San Francisco, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally


” Somehow the most compelling street photography remains the kind that allows us to imagine ourselves wandering into the frame.” —Wall Street Journal

Clearly Street Photography has multiple elements that continually keep my cup running over its edges. Characteristically, it moves from quiet to loud, from drama to melancholy, from exuberance to serenity, from known to unknown, from lost to found, from high to low, from narrow to wide, from monochrome to technicolor…The juxtaposition of humans to their street life is endlessly fascinating in its camaraderie and cruelty. Mostly, I relish the role of voyeur: the non-intrusive observer.

San Francisco has an Old-World sensibility mixed with contemporary vibes. The light exaggerates and insinuates itself through the spaces here and there and everywhere.

That energy lends itself to black-and-white photographs. Accents of contrast and tones of various shades are prevalent; they cavalcade around corners, crawl up buildings and pass through couples as they stroll. That California sunlight is spectacular and sheds itself rarely. Well, there is that famously-seductive fog, but it was nowhere to be seen on this visit.

In the Lens section are three images that depict a slice of San Francisco street life, and the city’s willingness to bring the new to its pedestrian pathways. Pause on Market Street brings a whole new edge to portions of this golden city that always, always entertains in unusual and known ways.

Market Street travels to Castro, near the waterfront. But this part of Market is a thoroughfare directly in the city’s heart. Pause is a different kind of public art project; it’s sponsors hope these spaces will be “catalysts for exploration, innovation and play.” As part of the Living Innovation Zone Program (LIZ) partners are the city and county as well as community-wide companies and organizations that built “a visible layer” within this these public spaces.

Pause has a musical bench (photograph #1) that is activated by people’s hand-holding. It also has a charging station that is powered by a foot pedal. Artistically-conceived benches are interspersed. Eventually, there will be ten zones whose installations will be fully-imagined by architects such as the ones used for this project, which was designed by Gehl Architects.

I was easily lured into the large sculptural objects that were bathed in sunbeams. It was a dazzling discovery.

While my credo for street photography avoids images that can identify strangers. The first capture seemed to blend with my philosophy, because I was not invading anyone’s private space. These individuals were conducting an interview in the midst of downtown foot traffic. Their anonymity was not even possible.

Although I continued to shoot in the shadows of their day’s work, the three images are representative of what the space intended: public use of public art. It is a grand experiment, which is working as a site-specific installation. Bravo, San Francisco–you’ve won my soul and spirit over and over and over again.

Tip of the Week:

For those of you that subscribe to my philosophy of street photography, the work of Bruno Quinquet, who says: “I never show recognizable faces,” is an apt discovery. His Salaryman is a reflection on the problem of candid street photography and portrait rights,” and worth your perusal. Read more about his project, and view some of his images here and here. I know that you’ll be happy you did.

Salaryman by Bruno Quinquet

“Salaryman” by Bruno Quinquet

View other entries for this week’s Challenger’s Choice:


If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Mobile Photography, Photography, Street Photography, Traveling and Travels, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Street Photography (San Francisco’s Street Life)

  1. These are nice photos…

    Have a nice monday and a fresh start to your week!

  2. Su Leslie says:

    These are great photos Sally. I love the stark contrast; it reminds me of how bright a San Fransisco day can be (something missing in our skies at the moment). Here is my contribution for the week:

  3. Very cool shoots. Love the first one.

  4. A musical bench, only in San Francisco! I didn’t know about this. I will sure check this out on my next visit. The streets of San Francisco is a constant source of vibrant life, culture, Art, dreams and hope. It’s a
    Modern city yes, but has old rich history and nature intertwined beautifully within and around it. Wonderful images! Have a great weekend my friend and all the best to you & your family.

  5. Great tip especially if you are selecting street photography for this week’s challenge. I like your first photo and the quote from the Wall street journal. Definitely something to keep in mind. Thanks, Sally

  6. Steven says:

    I’m so glad I happened upon your blog. I’m new to photography and have been looking for the kinds of discussions, advice, and opinions you’re posting. It’s really helpful. Thank you. And the tip at the end, much appreciated and another good source for inspiration.

  7. Suzanne says:

    San Francisco looks like a wonderful city – here’s some of Melbourne taken with mobile phone this morning

  8. Street photography is one of the most fascinating aspects of photography – in my opinion. As a photographer you have to be able to react spontaneously and you never know what you get when you start out walking the streets. For me some of the best photographs ever created were captured on the street – just think about Henri Cartier-Bresson’s legendary photos. My favourite photo in your post is the second on. It almost looks like a skeleton of a prehistoric fishlike animal. Cool.

  9. Sally, you always do street so very well, and it looks great in monochrome. So far ‘street’ is a subject unexplored for me, I have decided to do street art for my post. 🙂

  10. Valentina says:

    You are right about the golden city, it has an aura of antiquity. Great shots.

  11. Gosh, I just love this town so much. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  12. Gallivanta says:

    Great photos, and lovely to learn more about the Pause project as well as the Salaryman project.

  13. Indira says:

    Hi Sally. Street photography is a very interesting aspect of photography. There are so many subjects to choose from. Nice photographs. For a change I chose night photography there are limitations for my phone camera-

  14. You do street shooting so well. That’s not an area I do much with–really admire your dedication to it. I love SF too, so much eye candy there; I don’t think I could bear to do it in B/W. But your approach certainly cleans up the color clutter and offers focus.

    I was lured into your challenge this week with a bit of a How To, as in, How To Shoot the Perfect Mexican Martinis. Shaking and Editing are involved as well:

  15. Amy says:

    The first one is my choice. I like the composition and the lighting of the photo. Thank you Sally for continuing to inspire us.

  16. LavendarLadi says:

    I hope that these inviting art pieces were not damaged in the quake. Love the photos..they draw you in to look at them again and again.

  17. Ulli says:

    hi Sally, I go with the second pic, too, because of its geometry … thanks for the link to Bruno Quinquet, his portraits are marvelous …

    good days and ways for you

  18. I really like the image in #3 as well as the whole Pause concept, Sally and your love for the city shows in each photo here. 🙂 I’ll be back with my entry later today!

  19. livvy30 says:

    Lovely shots as always Sally. I’m taking part a little earlier this week. Here’re mine.

  20. Maria F. says:

    Great street scenes and I love all the contrast

  21. Angeline M says:

    Great shots, and doesn’t San Francisco keep stealing our hearts over and over again! I can’t wait to get in for visits now that I’m just a hop and a skip from the City. Thanks for the links, I look forward to looking at those.
    Happy Monday!

  22. The first one is the best for me. Always love photos of photos being taken. Great back light on it.
    Happy Monday.

  23. says:

    I enjoyed the second photo very much ! Linear and circular combined !

  24. Sally, I’m drawn to the third photo. Something about the curves with the light and shadows captures my attention. Have a week filled with lovely photos.


  25. I would like to visit SF again one day. It’s been over 26 years since I was there and didn’t really know how to “see” it! Love your photos!

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