It's a sad day for photography in San Francisco. 4x5 Gallery, a two year-old photography studio and gallery in the Lower Haight, announced Thursday that it will close its doors as a gallery after a final event on June 25th. Owners Hung Tran and Gordon Szeto have hosted many local and traveling photographers since they opened, and created several juried exhibitions based on local artists' submissions. Their most recent exhibit, "Home," encouraged artists to express what the word means to them, asking, "Is it a physical place or a familiar emotional state? A sanctuary from the outside world? We all need an anchor; someplace where we feel safe and be ourselves."
Szeto says they decided to shut the gallery down because "it wasn't where we wanted it to be and that it wouldn't change anything in the near future." But he adds, "It's sad because there is a need for representation of local emerging photographers and there are not many outlets right now. There definitely isn't a shortage of photographers but there seems to be a shortage of people wanting to buy work. At least we couldn't find our way to get in front of them."
While the photography supply store will remain, it's hard to lose a gallery that was such a joy to be in. During an exhibition in 2013, I was struck by a certain photograph from local artist, Shamilla Jensen. It's a small print of a light pole on a rooftop with a tiny UFO flying above entitled "I want to believe." The artist who created the work was overwhelmingly appreciative and emotional as I paid the cashier the meager $50 for the beautifully framed print and congratulated her on creating such a great piece. It was the first time she had sold one of her pieces. Shamilla is part of a Bay Area based photography collective called 81 Bees that originated from a CCSF class.
4x5 gallery will be missed by photographers, artists, and the public alike. They are hosting one final show of the owner's works on June 25th from 6-9 p.m.
Image from 4x5 Gallery