Issue 507
October 2011 to November 2011

Urban Field Notes: SF Sidewalks Are a Trove of Human, Animal Artifacts

There are treasures hidden in plain view on the sidewalks of San Francisco. Recently, as I was taking my daily walk in the city, an elegant utility cover caught my eye. I immediately took a photograph of it, and then began to notice many graphically powerful images on the sidewalks under my feet. I launched a project of photographing utility covers, commemorative plaques, messages, drawings, handprints, footprints and animal tracks throughout the city. I chose not to include tagging, graffiti, murals and other markings on buildings and walls as they have been extensively documented already. I would focus only on the sidewalks. Infrastructure. Throughout the city there are a multitude of well-crafted utility covers on the sidewalk. They are remarkably artistic despite their utilitarian purpose. Many of the older ones show off a pride of craft and design, often with interesting patinas. These covers also reveal the variety of services... Read More »

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