Around the Bay
Second in American Regional Landscape Series

THE CLUI PROUDLY announces the release of a new publication, Around the Bay: Man-Made Sites of Interest in the San Francisco Bay Region, the second book in the Center’s American Regional Landscape Series, published with Blast Books.

The first book in the series, Up River: Man-Made Sites of Interest on the Hudson from the Battery to Troy, published a few years ago, was about the Hudson River shoreline, from New York City’s Battery Park to the river’s first dam, north of Albany.

It made sense to have the second book in the series be about San Francisco, as these two cities, New York and San Francisco, are like continental bookends. Spread out over the historic rail lines and modern Interstate between them, is America.

Also, the Bay Area shore and the Hudson River house historic portals for the nation’s connections overseas, one for the Atlantic, one for the Pacific. New York’s waterfront, developed during the 18th and 19th centuries, traded mostly with Europe, and reached westward into the new country through the Erie Canal. The San Francisco Bay’s shore was developed in the 19th and 20th centuries, helping the developing West to disgorge its spoils and spread the nation’s commerce across the Pacific.

These city’s watery fringes, extending into their hinterlands, contain things like the industries, quarries, power plants, and sewage plants that make the urban areas we enjoy possible. They both also contain latent and potential sites of meaning and revelation, and overlooked histories.

San Francisco’s scenic landscape has made it a frequent target for aerial photography. The most famous aerial image is likely the one by George Lawrence, who used a kite to suspend a 50-pound camera 2,000 feet in the air to capture the extent of the city’s destruction after the earthquake in 1906. The city was also covered with no less than four editions of Robert Cameron’s Above series of large-format aerial photography books. Cameron, who lived in San Francisco, published a total of 19 Above books, depicting cities all over the world, which defined the genre.

While aware of these precedents of local aerial photography, Around the Bay is not really a book of aerial photography. It is a book about 73 places, described through images and text, and located on a fold-out map in the back. But the book is not really about these places either, but about the portrait of the region they create when considered collectively. ♦