United States

Balmy Alley

Thanksgiving 1990 • Not counting a Mecca-like pilgrimage to Dealey Plaza in 1975, this was my first photo safari, a long-overdue leap from Kodak Instamatic to Nikon SLR. Balmy Alley in San Francisco is still renowned for murals and public art, but the neighborhood has changed a lot since these photos were taken. Back then the Mission District was home to thousands of refugees fleeing persecution and civil war in Central America, and the artwork reflected their experiences. Most of those residents have since moved on or been shoved to the exits by the cattle prod of gentrification. It would be cool if the murals reflected the current tensions, but that kind of art is being made in Oakland, if anywhere.