I went to San Francisco after a very long time this evening. I like to believe that I have not grown into a city sleek. (I believe it was Tolstoy who said that you can take a boy out of a village, but you can not take the village out of the boy). And I am really more at ease on a remote stretch of forest or mountain than on city streets. Cities give me the adrenaline rush, but too much of it is like living on caffeine. I then need to go sleep it off in a long trip somewhere far off to get my sanity back. But great cities are also, like caffeine or alcohal addictive. If you have been away from it for a long time and then suddently drink up, it all comes back with a vengeance.
And I have always been utterly charmed by San Francisco. When you live there, you get desensitized to its distinctive colours and smells. But last evening when I went there, I had the hightened senses of a kid. Even the mundane was magical. The majesty of the sky scrappers against the evening lights, the muni buses going past ponderously, the evening rush of commuters, the brief whiffs of perfume. It was all very prosaic, but somehow deeply satisfying.
I came back and tried to think of a great city photgrapher who saw cities through equally naive eyes. Not someone like Winogrand, whose obsession was the streets of New York city, nor a great like Ernst Haas, who saw everything through his own peculiar vision. (incidentally, I LOVE Hass' photographs). But someone who shoots straight, but who captured the spirit of the city, its everyday charms. Someone who has photographed San Francisco. I guess there are many out there. I guess I just dont know of them.