Positively Sixth Street: A Retrospective, 1992–2009

January 10 - February 14, 2010

Celebrating over fifteen years of the Sixth Street Photography Workshop, an innovative program that shares the art and skills of photography with adults living in poverty. 

Positively Sixth Street: A Retrospective, 1992–2009 presents photographs taken by participants in the Sixth Street Photography Workshop. These powerful portraits and streetscapes reveal the strength and character of San Francisco’s inner city and its inhabitants, bringing a unique artistic sensibility to our understanding of life at the margins of society. This unique retrospective provides us with a view of San Francisco’s changing urban landscape through the lens of experience.

Drawn from the Sixth Street Photography Workshop’s archives and curated by founder/artistic director Tom Ferentz and instructor S. Renee Jones, Positively Sixth Street presents photographs from a range of collaborative workshop projects and photographers beginning in 1992 and moving to the present. These include various “Portrait Projects,” providing free posed, studio-quality portraits to the community; “Secret San Francisco,” a yearlong foray into night photography on the streets; and “The Photography Archive,” an expanding collection of photographs taken by workshop participants. The cases display photographs by current Workshop students as well as Workshop publications, exhibition catalogs and a chronological history of the Workshop’s exhibitions. Works-in-progress from the Tenderloin Portrait Project are projected on the wall.

While many of the works in this exhibition were created through a collaborative process, a number can be attributed to individual photographers: C. Alexander, Naji Ali, Dan Burr, Walter Cidlowski, Sharon Cruz-Reidboard, Barry Cunningham, Dorian, Liz Drake, Tom Ferentz, Robert Farrell, Bob Gordon, S. Renée Jones, Billy Mitchell, Ojai, Barry Rodgers, Justinn Rogers, Aaron Schirmer and Jodi Troute. 

Numerous exhibitions have grown out of the Workshop, which held its first exhibition in 1992 and now regularly exhibits both in the communities where they photograph as well as in venues that bring their photography to a broader public. Sixth Street Photography Workshop has shown in San Francisco at Luggage Store Gallery, Meridian Gallery, Red Ink Studios, Yerba Buena Gardens Center for the Arts, SF Airport, SF Arts Commission Gallery, Jewett Gallery of the main library and City Hall. Exhibitions have traveled to De Saisset Museum of Santa Clara University, Northwestern University and ARC Gallery in Chicago, and Pingyao International Festival of Photography in China. Workshop photographers have presented in artist panels at UCSF, Santa Clara University, Koret Auditorium, and Society for Photographic Education. Made possible by generous grants from the California Arts Council, LEF Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Foundation and the Zellerbach Community Foundation.

Join us on Tuesday, February 9 at 10 a.m. for reception in the gallery followed by an artist panel at 11 a.m. in the Donohue Rare Book Room, 3rd Floor.

Sixth Street Photography Workshop is now 6th on 7th Photography Workshop.