Although my dad was once the only photographer in town before I was born, it wasn’t until I got to the Harvey Milk photography center many many years later that I learned to develop film and print black and white photos. The Photo center is located inside of Harvey Milk Center on 50 Scott St in Duboce park, and reopened in 2009 after a major renovation. I remember in the weeks and months I spent there, Peter, Clarence and other staffers were extremely friendly and knowledgeable. They created a sanctuary for film lovers. Photographers, experienced or new, loved to work, to learn, and hang out in that laid back darkroom community. Since Peter suddenly passed away a few years ago, Clarence Towers, the director of the photo center had to run the facility with even less staff and funding.
Unfortunately I just found out yesterday that due to the city’s budget crisis, a decision was made to eliminate the position of the Photography Center director. Everybody knows that the photo center would never be the same without Clarence, because there will be no one available to offer the proactive service, leadership and “hands on” attention that everybody have appreciated over the past 22 years. We wouldn’t be able to continue to enjoy the exhibitions, seminars, classes, the largest publicly funded darkroom in the country and, of course the new digital lab. It would be a tremendous loss if we cannot keep this most valuable resource that has served San Franciscans for over 53 years.
So, please, please, write to the superintendent of Citywide services, Ana Alvarez, (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the general manager, Phil Ginsburg (email@example.com) to appeal their decision to exclude the Photography Centers’ director position from the 2010-2011 budget. We do not want to lose that nice photographer community!