Photographer Janet Delaney documented changing face of SoMa
SF Gate by Sam Whiting
11 April 2014
The gentrification of South of Market was photographically documented by the young Adjunct Professor, Janet Delaney, through the years of 1978-1986. Thirty-five years after the project she is printing her images in a book title “South of Market.”
Delaney used a large format camera to capture the evolving city. Her stunning images use color in a time when color photography was not quite yet popular for documentary photography.
Janet Delaney was supported by two National Endowment for the Arts grants during her SoMa project. The gentrification of the city was a gradual change, and the most distinguishable symbol did not come until the 1990’s when the neighborhood introduced shiny live-in work lofts for artists.
The project sat untouched for two decades before it was revived when her work was noticed at a group show in 2009. With the help of a curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, she compiled her images into a book and sold it to a publishing house.
Since then, Delaney had a series of successes with the project. SFMOMA bought some of the prints. The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley bought a full set, along with her research papers and memorabilia. Delaney will have a solo show at the de Young Museum in January 2015.