About HMPC

Harvey Milk Photo Center

Established in 1940, the Harvey Milk Photo Center has been serving the San Francisco community for over eight decades. As the oldest and largest community wet darkroom in the United States, we’re proud to be associated with the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department. Our offerings extend to a full digital lab, available to our members. Situated at 50 Scott Street, within Duboce Park, on the lower level of the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts building, we’ve been rooted in this location since 1954.

Beyond providing access to our community darkroom and digital lab, we boast a diverse range of offerings including classes, workshops, membership options, a photo library, lectures, book signings, and numerous photography exhibits and events. The Harvey Milk Photo Center serves as a vibrant hub where the community converges to create, learn, share, and find inspiration.

Facility History

San Francisco’s first camera room facility was located at the Hayes Valley Recreation Center. The facility was created in 1949 by Clifford Nelson, who at the time managed the Department’s Visual Recreation division.  Its popularity grew so quickly that the Department partnered with the Northern California Council of Camera Club to organize a Photography Day; by 1950, the event drew 6,000 photographers.

In the following years, the Photo Center moved to various locations before settling into the lower level of the Recreation Arts Center at 50 Scott Street in 1954.  In December 1978, SF Rec and Park Commission approved a measure to rename the Recreation Arts Center after Supervisor Harvey Milk, who was slain on November 27th of that year. Supervisor Milk had owned and operated the Castro Camera Shop in the nearby Castro District from 1972 until the time of his death.




50 Scott Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Transit Info: The nearest Muni lines include the N-Judah (closest stop is at Noe Street/Sunset Tunnel East Portal), 24-Divisadero, and 22-Fillmore, along with the 6 and 71 lines, the F-Market, and all of the Muni Metro lines via Church Street Station. 

Parking Street parking in the area is limited. There is a pay lot nearby at the CMPC Davies Campus—the entrance is located at 45 Castro Street. 

Exhibit Hours Since the Photo Center is a multi-use space with limited staffing, please call ahead at (415) 554-9522 to see if the exhibit space is open for viewing. 

Hours of Operation

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 3pm-8:30pm
Wednesday: 3pm-8:30pm
Thursday: 3pm-8:30pm
Friday: Closed
Saturday: 11am-4:30pm
Sunday: Closed

Lab operations end 30 minutes before building closing time.