San Francisco, Portrait of a City: 1940-1960 by Fred Lyon by Fred Lyon - Read Online
San Francisco, Portrait of a City
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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.
Published: Princeton Architectural Press an imprint of Chronicle Books Digital on
ISBN: 9781616893682
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San Francisco, Portrait of a City - Fred Lyon

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Secrets of a happy camera

Fred Lyon

On even the most humdrum days of its history, San Francisco remains a photographer’s delight, but in the optimistic years following World War II, it had a special aura. The exuberance and energetic growth of America during the 1940s and ‘50s was unprecedented, and on the western edge of the continent the mood seemed even more palpable. San Francisco was entering a new golden age. The postcard-perfect panorama of familiar landmarks mixed with fresh projects and new faces to create a visual buffet, just begging to have its picture taken. Smog had yet to be invented, so sharp blue skies prevailed, relieved only by the dramatic descent of fog over the city’s hills. For the fresh eye of a young photographer like myself, it was an intoxicating kaleidoscope. But first, I had to get there.

After the war, I too was caught up in the restless spirit of the times. I wound up my Navy Press service as a news photographer in Washington, DC and began to redirect my career toward fashion photography in New York. And then, a quick visit to San Francisco stretched into months. To avoid embarrassment, I announced to friends and family that I was now a magazine photographer, without having the slightest notion of what that might entail. I constantly repeated it until an unwary editor finally offered me an assignment. Thus began my downward slide. To stay