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

View this image larger.

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

View this image larger.

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

View this image larger.

This Post Has 4 Comments

Leave a Reply

Close Menu