In the summer of 1964, San Francisco was ground zero for a historic culture clash as the site of the twenty-eighth Republican National Convention (the “Goldwater Convention”), the launch of the Beatle’s first North American tour and civil rights demonstrations. In the midst of the excitement, a young photographer new to the city was snapping pictures not of the politicians or musicians but of the people in the crowds and on the streets. Arthur Tress, who went on to become one of America’s most accomplished photographers, known for his dreamlike and surreal imagery, created what is perhaps his first mature documentary work. Finding himself immersed in a hotbed of cultural and political transformation, Tress shot over nine hundred negatives. Exulting in juxtapositions of the mundane and the absurd, he captured a wide array of city life including political rallies, street portraits, and a miscellany of odd signage that effectively fixes time and place.
Tress developed and printed his black and white negatives in a communal darkroom in the city’s Castro district before leaving San Francisco in the fall of 1964. The vintage prints were stored in his sister’s home, where they remained untouched until 2009. The rediscovery of this forgotten body of photographs inspired the photographer to revisit his early negatives and “Arthur Tress San Francisco 1964” is the delightful outcome.
San Francisco 1964 – Arthur Tress
From July 14th to October 10th 2012
Bergamot Station Arts Center – Gallery G5
2525 Michigan Avenue
Santa Monica, California 90404 – USA