Stephen Von Worley


By conservative estimates, visitors have snapped over two billion photographs of San Francisco, more than one picture for every square foot of land within city limits.

Cutting my compositional teeth on San Francisco’s landmarks, these ghostly mountains of past photographic effort weighed heavily upon me. Had I created something new? Or taken the same shot from the same spot as Hiroshi Yamamoto did back in '83? Doubts writhed serpentine.

One summer evening found me at a popular Golden Gate Bridge overlook. The fog had absconded with the view, and I stood alone, dampened by drizzle, pondering retreat. Heralded by crunching gravel, a man and his grown son emerged from the murk, exchanged a few words in a foreign tongue, and beelined to bluff’s edge. A camera flash whitened the mist. Then, after a short pause, they disappeared back into the fog with a chuckle.

The father and son had given me the answers I’d been searching for.

Tourist is an ongoing series of landmark photography, taken from places where you might often find a visitor to San Francisco. See each photograph for the geographic coordinates where it originated.