Shortly after completing a tour of duty in the South Pacific, Minor White spent the late 1940s teaching at the California School of Fine Arts (today’s San Francisco Art Institute). During those years he photographed San Francisco extensively, capturing a city in the midst of a postwar boom. The photographs are at once sophisticated abstract compositions and socially astute documents that reveal a growing, rapidly modernizing, and more ethnically diverse San Francisco. White photographed African Americans in the Fillmore District, previously inhabited by Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during the war. In the Financial District, he saw a new class of office workers—women. All throughout postwar San Francisco we see construction as the Victorian Gold Rush city rubbed up against trucks, freeways, and newly poured cement sidewalks. This exhibition is drawn exclusively from the more than 400 photographs White gave to the California Historical Society in 1957.
Minor White, Mid-morning coffee time, Sansome and Pine Streets, San Francisco, 1949
Minor White, Elks' Shoe Shine Parlor, 1535 1/2 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, 1948
Minor White, 1732 Bryant Street, San Francisco, 1948
Minor White, Chinatown, San Francisco, 1953