The 80s were a decade of demonstration for California photographer Janet Delaney. As her photos are collected in a book and the city stirs again she talks about her work
In 1981, at the start of the Reagan years, photographer Janet Delaney decamped from the South of Market or SoMa neighbourhood in her beloved San Francisco, where she had lived since her teens, to a new home in the Mission district. Aged just 29, she had spent the previous few years documenting social change and gentrification in SoMa. I was using a large format camera on a tripod, so I had to put my head under a black cloth to take a photograph, which made me feel very conspicuous, she says. It was kind of formal.
She wanted a more fluid experience of street life, and in Mission that is exactly what she got. It was a turbulent time and protests and parades were playing an increasingly important part in the daily life of the primarily Latino district, which was also home to sizeable gay and African American communities.