By Jun Nucum
SAN FRANCISCO – A free large-scale outdoor photo show has opened at the Presidio featuring some 400 chosen photos of both professional and amateur photographers from around the country depicting the beauty of the great outdoors and the joy that time in nature can bring.
This yearlong outdoor show dubbed as the My Park Moment spread across four strategic locations surrounding the future Presidio Tunnel Tops is brought about by the Partnership for the Presidio in collaboration with New York-based nonprofit Photoville.
It also celebrates people from all backgrounds loving their parks and is part of the opening of the new Presidio Tunnel Tops, a new 14 acres of new parkland with trails, scenic overlook, picnic sites, and an interactive playspace for kids scheduled to open in spring of 2022 as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, one of the most visited national parks in the country.
Originally part of some 7,000 entries submitted, the photos were trimmed down to some of the 400 by a distinguished committee of photographers, artists, and community leaders who all picked photos that also capture social and cultural connections that are part of the park experience.
The photos are displayed at four sites on the Main Post and Crissy Field, surrounding the future Presidio Tunnel Tops site: The Main Parade Ground at Anza Street, Sports Basement, 1180 Old Mason Street, and the Presidio YMCA.
“The photo show builds on our ongoing collaboration with the community to create the Presidio Tunnel Tops, which we hope will be welcoming and inclusive for all,” noted Michael Boland, chief park officer for the Presidio Trust. “The My Park Moment photo show activates the park now while previewing the new park experiences that Tunnel Tops will offer.”
Indeed, My Park Moment’s emotionally evocative images portray a wide range of authentic park experiences, from a family gathering on the beach, to iconic national park scenery, to neighborhood life and the majority in the “Community Snapshot” category were taken by everyday parkgoers from across the country celebrating their own unique park experience.
For her part, Photoville executive director and co-founder Laura Roumanos believes that “photography is a universal language that allows everyone to tell their own story. The opportunity for these stories to be displayed publicly is priceless.”
“We’re thrilled that this show represents such diversity of gender, class, and race in one of the country’s most beautiful national park settings,” Roumanos added.
A special Youth Pavilion section of the show features images selected by eight “Community Youth Curators” that were recruited by leaders from the Crissy Field Center; they spent time exploring what public art curation means in places like San Francisco’s Mission District, the Box Shop in the Bayview neighborhood, and the Presidio.
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy who helped lead the Community Youth Curators team along with Jessica Lie of the Parks Conservancy Mark Yanez proffers that the fact that youth curators come from all over the Bay Area and view the Presidio as their park “represents the values that were built into this show and the Presidio Tunnel Tops, too,”
Visual Story Award category winners from the San Francisco Bay Area and who were awarded cash honorarium after submitting a collection of 8-10 images that convey that impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and political events in the past year were also presented in the photo show opening.
Winners include Yuxing Liu’s black and white images of which “capture fragments of American life and the magical power of the park” for everyday people in San Francisco’s Alamo Square Park.
Marissa Leshnov photographed the Oakland OMies, a community of Black women who promote wellness, mindfulness, and healing through yoga having faith that “the parks continue to be a place of refuge, where one’s sense of community and sense of wonder may find renewal.”
Sheilby Macena’s black and white photos depict “resilience, joy, movement, and the divinity of Oakland” at Lake Merritt Park while Filipina Francess Santos’s images show her two young boys enjoying nature outdoors in the Presidio.