Najib Joe Hakim

Golden Gate Park 150th Anniversary Exhibit

Najib Joe Hakim’s love of photography was congenital. How else would you explain photographing his family and GI Joes at five years old? After running into Ansel Adams (literally!) in Washington, DC, he caught the nature photo bug.

Like most good boys from the burbs, Hakim entered college, took one Photo class and was off to National Geographic with a portfolio but without an appointment. Alas, he never got past the burly receptionist with long painted fingernails. That encounter set his photo career back 15 years. Fortunately, he found his way to photography again when just days after being laid-off from a tech job, a course catalog from City College of San Francisco arrived in mail. He flipped through it and landed on the Photo classes section. Since then he’s made a career of it (i.e., “the rest is history!”).

Hakim works as a documentary and editorial photographer; and since 2014, as an instructor for the Harvey Milk Photo Center. He is a YBCAPolitical Art Fellow and the recipient of the 2020 Rebuilding Alliance Storytellers Award for his Home Away from Home: Little Palestine by the Bay and Born Among Mirrors projects. He is also a past nominee for the US Artist Fellowship.

Golden Gate Park is a natural draw for Hakim because of his love of nature arts. The uncrowded beauty and silence drew him there. And the infinite photographic possibilities had him returning again…and again, for the last 33 of its 150 years.