Photography is often brushed aside as a less impressive artistic medium in comparison to others. However, there is so much that can go into making a photograph artistic and each particular photographer has their own take on what makes an image worth capturing. The following San Francisco artists are true experts in their craft, providing work that only a seasoned eye could muster.

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Richard Misrach
Fraenkel Gallery
49 Geary St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 981-2661

Since the 1970s, Richard Misrach as been using his viewpoint of sensitivity and social conscience to cover major disasters and man-made catastrophies. He has appeared on PBS and spoken at San Francisco’s City Arts & Lectures. Misrach, who lives in Berkeley and was born in Los Angeles, has in recent years illuminated the impact of location on health and the environment. His work ranges from a petrochemical wasteland along the Mississippi called “Cancer Alley to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast” five years after Katrina to the aftermath of the 1991  Oakland-Berkeley Fire. These images are powerful in that they evoke emotions from the viewer that words might not be able to portray.

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An Oracle scrimmage by Erik Simonson

Erik Simonson
PO Box 1494
Pacifica, CA 94944
(650) 355-1080

Erik Simonson, a professional marine photographer and sailor/windsurfer with an environmental eye, resides in Pacifica and takes to the water for recreation as well as occupation. Among his yachting and coastal shots of action and adventure, he also features a special mishaps gallery of nautical blunders which includes the recent San Francisco America’s Cup World Series capsizes. One can almost feel the sea breeze and smell the salty air while perusing his catalog of 20 years of marine-oriented photography.

"Wilderness" by Debra Bloomfield

New Wilderness Book and Exhibit by Debra Bloomfield

Debra Bloomfield
Robert Koch Gallery
Fifth Floor
49 Geary St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 421-0122

Debra Bloomfield is a contemporary landscape photographer who uses no artificial manipulation to achieve her vision, just 30 or 40 years of experience, a Hasselblad and film. Los Angeles born, she also depicts timeless oceanscapes, creating dynamic interplay between light, clouds, sky and still surface where one life force seems to emerge from the other. She returns repeatedly to a secret beach and uses graduated color and low light, creating a cool or warm impact with natural sunlight and natural diffusion by clouds. Bloomfield uses timing and patience to captures shimmery and monochromatic earth tones for breathtaking images that are serene and thrilling.

"Gavanellias Rigoletto" by John F. Martin

Baritone Paulo Gavanelli at San Francisco Opera

John F. Martin
JFM Digital Fine Art
68 Ashton Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 613-7408

John F. Martin performed as an extra at the San Francisco Opera for 15 years and the behind-the-scenes view as an active participant afforded him unique opportunities for a fine arts photography project. His magical collection, shot during performances with actors in character and full makeup, will be a book with a forward written by the revolutionary opera house director David Gockley. Martin has also photographed a great many other things from voodoo in Haiti to the interiors of mansions on Nob Hill.

"Sunburned" by Chris McCaw

Chris McCaw
31 Rausch St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 552-8708

Chris McCaw, a young San Francisco Bay Area native, memorialized “The Family Farm” in Manteca with rustic charm. The black-and-white series took on poignancy as his grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. The sense of nostalgia from these black-and-white, antiqued shots feels heartwarming and boyishly charming if not mischievous. Manteca is a far cry from where McCaw was born, that being Daly City in 1971. For those of us who grew up in the city or Bay Area suburbs and are far removed from our ancestral American roots, it is evident that “The Family Farm” is not just a tribute but also a bittersweet experience of both preservation and loss.

Cindy Warner is a freelance writer and a San Francisco Bay Area native. Cindy has covered SF theater and opera for via her bicycle since January 2009. Check out her work on