Photo Blog by Mark I Chester
Mark I Chester studio  1229 Folsom St./SF  415-6294
all images are 2011 Mark I Chester

December 23, 2011


photo of the day 12/23/2011. In honor of Dan Nicoletta's birthday!
From the Revealing Image, the catalog of a Gay Pride show of gay and lesbian photography hosted by Peter Hartman of 544 Natoma Performance Gallery in June of 1981. Text by Dan Nicoletta. Photograph of Dan Nicoletta by Harvey Milk.

I moved to San Francisco in May of 1977. The first gallery owner to ever include my photographs in a show was Peter Hartman of 544. This was a ground breaking show highlighting the work of local gay and lesbian photographers. Before that, we had just been ignored artistically as if we didn't exist. This was the first time that I met Dan Nicoletta. While some photographers viewed other photographers as competitors, Danny and I have always had a mutual respect for each other and our work. We have both spent our lives documenting the San Francisco gay and lesbian community, even if we explored different aspects of the community. We both loved theater. And we both loved the wild personalities that San Francisco drew to it and we photographed them with love and respect, not as objects of curiosity to be pointed at and mocked.

Of course, there were differences. While we all grew older, Danny never seemed to age. We joked that Danny must have had his own version of the picture of Dorian Gray hidden in an attic, except for the fact that Danny is one of the nicest, most authentic people you are ever likely to meet. And one of the most fearless. I'll never forget the photograph of Danny wearing the clothes that Harvey Milk was wearing when he was murdered. I am pretty fearless photographically, but that act was light years beyond what I could ever do. The history that Danny has documented is invaluable and there isn't another photographer in San Francisco that can claim his artistry, let alone the depth and range of his work. When future generations look back at these last three decades, they will be looking at Danny's photographs to know what these times and what this community was all about. Happy Birthday, Danny! With much love.