There Is a There There

Forgotten in the mythology of Oakland–the high violent crime rate, and the barrios that gave birth to the Black Panthers–is the fact that this is a thriving city. San Francisco, across the Bay, casts a long shadow. It’s hard to compete with a sibling so graceful and talented. It’s also hard to overcome Gertrude Stein’s pithy epigram about the lack of a there being there.

Oakland Reflections

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Oakland is one of the largest West coast ports, engorged on the China trade. The hilltown suburbs of Piedmont and Montclair are among California’s wealthiest. Oakland’s Chinatown is extensive and authentic, without t-shirts for sale, tourists hardly in sight. And, as these photos show, downtown Oakland presents great architectural variety, with baroque 1920s skyscrapers reflected in the curved, mirrored glass of modern office towers.

Venice in Oakland

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I had a great time photographing these reflections. The moral for me: don’t pass up photographic subjects just because they are local (this moral comes up often). Sometimes the supposedly less glamorous subject has more glamour than that which at first sight seems to dominate the glamour field.

Related Stories: Reflections, Downtown Oakland; Persistence of Reflections.

Oakland City Hall

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This entry was posted in Photography.

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] igital Photographs and Techniques from Harold Davis

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    Civilization

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  2. […] is. View this image larger. Here’s another photo in my series of reflections from downtown Oakland.

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    on Monday, Decem […]

  3. By Oakland of My Mind | Photoblog 2.0 on January 2, 2009 at 9:31 am

    […] New York across the water, Oakland definitely gets no respect. This is the city that gave the “no there” to there, a gritty and high crime urban […]

  4. By Midwinter Print Fair on December 21, 2012 at 11:00 am

    […] You are sure to enjoy your visit whichever day you decide to come. Proving that there is definitely a there there. […]

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