Reviews by Robert E.
Robert E.

Make friends with San Francisco We began with introductions over a gaiwan tea tasting at Taste Tea in Hayes Valley. Garry gave us an overview of the tour, some background on his Souls of San Francisco project along with some of the lessons he's learned about taking street portraits, and some camera tips. By the time we were ready to hit the streets, the hurry was out of me and I knew this was going to be a relaxing afternoon. We began by taking a few pictures of each other, then Garry took us one at a time to shadow him as he talked to a stranger, built rapport, and asked for a picture. Easy peasy. We ducked into restaurants and art galleries and graffiti covered alleyways, shooting portraits everywhere we went. And everywhere we went, we encountered people Garry knew. Garry introduces you to San Francisco as he lives it, not out of a guidebook. It's San Francisco by feel. He took us down one street and encouraged us to notice what it felt like, then ducked into an alley (where we encountered a host of characters and snapped a number of portraits), then out onto another street that felt almost like another city. We walked for hours, experienced at least three different neighborhoods, then hopped on a bus and found our way back to Taste Tea. I've always been shy about taking pictures on the street, preferring to steal a shot as I breeze by, shooting from the hip. But Gary showed me how to slow down, how to be comfortable approaching people and—more importantly—how to make them comfortable so I could take authentic portraits, not snapshots. I highly recommend this tour. The pace was refreshingly downtempo, but the time flew by. Garry doesn't guide so much by talking; he guides by being. You'll get a different perspective on the streets of San Francisco and make friends with your camera. But this tour is really about the people, about the Souls of San Francisco.