Mercantile Building, Mission and 3rd Streets, San Francisco (1980) photographed by Janet Delaney.
Janet Delaney moved to San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) district in 1978 because the location was central and the rent was cheap. On the weekends she photographed with her large format camera at the nearby construction site for what is now the Moscone Convention Centre. After witnessing the nighttime demolition of an adjacent residential hotel, Delaney became interested in the rippling economic effects urban renewal was having on poor and working class residents. Leaving the construction site behind, Delaney began to photograph and interview her neighbors in their homes and places of work. South of Market is not a romantic representation of San Francisco’s past, but rather a testament to a vanished community made up of blue-collar workers, small business owners, families with children, artists, and gay men.
Delaney’s series is also available as a photo book: ‘South of Market — Wonderful Color Photos Documented an Old San Francisco in the Early ’80s’ (ISBN 9781907946387).