In 2010 I was invited to take photographs in Bayview-Hunters Point, a neighborhood at the southeastern corner of San Francisco. The Bayview-Hunters Point district has for years been isolated from the rest of the city and cited as a significant example of urban marginalization. I began exploring the neighborhood with my camera, but the photographs reflected my perspective of an outsider wandering the perimeter of a community. If the work was going to have any authenticity or power, I needed to connect in a significant way. In early 2011 I walked into Providence Baptist Church. My life changed that Sunday morning; I was adopted by the congregation of Providence. The Church became the lens through which I learned about and connected with the whole community.
While reflecting on the African-American community of San Francisco, James Baldwin once said, “This is the San Francisco Americans pretend does not exist.” Today, with a new lightrail and other plans on the horizon, Bayview-Hunters Point is the focus of redevelopment projects. The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, a superfund site requiring years of radioactive pollution cleanup, is being targeted for 10,500 new homes. Once considered an outlying community, Bayview-Hunters Point is on its way to becoming another coveted San Francisco zip code. While the African-American community watches its neighborhood transform, gentrification threatens to undermine its way of life. Displacement is underway in this historic African-American district.
While other projects focus on the gritty, troubled aspects that come from oppression and economic struggle, The Point is a collaboration with and celebration of the Bayview-Hunters Point community. It features the people who’ve grown up and lived their lives there – the kings and queens of Bayview-Hunters Point.