Terminal 2

February 2013 - April 2013

Fred Lyon: San Francisco Yesterday 1948–1958

I've been at this now since I was 14, and I have to tell you I've never been bored.
-Fred Lyon
San Francisco Chronicle 2010

Fourth-generation San Franciscan Fred Lyon witnessed and photographed the transformation of his treasured hometown into a center for optimism, prosperity, and growth after World War II. For a young photographer, it was a fascinating time—a time ripe with new possibilities to capture images of the Bay Area’s people, urban landscapes, and historic San Francisco neighborhoods—Telegraph Hill, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Marina. Lyon created graphically strong black-and-white images, characteristic of mid-century photography.

Lyon discovered his lifelong passion for photography in his youth. At the age of fourteen, he apprenticed at Gabriel Moulin Studio, and from 1940 to 1943, he studied photography under Ansel Adams, Will Connell, and Edward Kaminski at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, California, now the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

During World War II, Lyon served as a U.S. Navy photographer stationed in Washington, D. C. and was assigned to photograph U.S. Presidents and numerous White House press events. Following his Navy discharge, Lyon moved to New York City and was soon immersed in the creative world of high-fashion photography. Restless for San Francisco, he returned in 1948 to establish a studio and seek free-lance assignments for magazines.

Lyon’s photography has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Art, now the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Lyon believes, “ . . . photography is a process of discovery rather than contrivance.” San Francisco Yesterday 1948–1958 invites the viewer to explore the past and reminisce through the lens of a seasoned and passionate photographer.

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