Jim Watkins

Golden Gate Park 150th Anniversary Exhibit

I’ve been chasing the light for close to 30 years now. This pursuit of light started when I was photographing the landscapes and cityscapes of Europe and Asia Minor throughout the 1990s. It continued to flourish among the flat plains and rolling hills that represented the Midwestern landscapes surrounding my hometown of Chicago. 

I moved to the San Francisco Bay area in late 2012. Although street photography represented the better part of my world at that point, the lure of the natural landscape had never left my blood. I’m chasing a different light here: a light reflecting off mountains, filtering through the leaves of sky-high coastal redwoods, or permeating a thin layer of ocean mist. Its ethereal quality reminds me of the paintings that emerged from the Hudson River School of the mid-19th century, paintings at which I stared for hours at art museums all over the country. 

 As a photographer for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, I consider Golden Gate Park as part of my “office”. I find myself in the enviable position of spending my retirement years chasing light among the nooks and crannies of this grand piece of real estate and getting paid for doing so.