The Streets of San Francisco: Photographing City Life



Carlotta Boettcher (b. 1945)

“I arrived in San Francisco in 1971 as an ‘outsider’ …to the US culture, to the city, to the times as they were happening…”

So began Boettcher’s photographic exploration of a city on the cusp of upheaval, forging a new identify. Coming from Europe, she writes, “…vitality and energy permeated the city at the time… and gave the city its particular and unique style.”

“The people of San Francisco caught my eye first. Their authenticity, lack of pretense, openness, humor and unabashed self-assurance, style and individuality, became my focus. Framing them within the city’s urban backdrops became a natural, organic component of my style. The 24-mm lens became my eye.” All you needed to do was look around, walk around and realize how diverse it was, how friendly it was, how just about anything was possible.”

As she roamed the city with her camera and her anthropologist’s eye, she documents moments never to be seen again—an elusive San Francisco that few today would recognize.

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Photographs courtesy of Carlotta Boettcher