With a landmark around every corner and a picture perfect view atop every hill, San Francisco might be the world's most picturesque city. And yet, the Golden City is so much more than postcard vistas. It's a town alive with history, culture, and a palpable sense of grandeur best captured by a man known as San Francisco's Brassai. Walking the city's foggy streets, the fourth-generation San Franciscan captures the local's view in dramatic black-and-white photos— from fog-drenched mornings in North Beach and cable cars on Market Street to moody night shots of Coit Tower and the twists and turns of Lombard Street. In San Francisco, Portrait of a City 1940–1960, Fred Lyon captures the iconic landscapes and one-of-a-kind personalities that transformed the city by the bay into a legend. Lyon's anecdotes and personal remembrances, including sly portraits of San Francisco characters such as writer Herb Caen, painters Richard Diebenkorn and Jean Varda, and madame and former mayor of Sausalito Sally Stanford add an artist's first-hand view to this portrait of a classic American city.
Following in the footsteps of classic films like The Maltese Falcon and The Lady from Shanghai, veteran photographer Fred Lyon creates images of San Francisco in high contrast with a sense of mystery. In this latest offering from the photographer of San Francisco: Portrait of a City 1940–1960, Lyon presents a darker tone, exploring the hidden corners of his native city. Images taken in the foggy night are illuminated only by neon signs, classic car headlights, apartment windows, or streetlights. Sharply dressed couples stroll out for evening shows, drivers travel down steep hills, and sailors work through the night at the old Fisherman's Wharf. Stylistically, many of the photographs are experimental the noir tone is enhanced by double exposures, elements of collage, and blurred motion. These strikingly evocative duotone images expose a view of San Francisco as only Fred Lyon could capture.