Check it out
What: Photographs by Davis resident Rick York
When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. weekdays, Jan. 2-31
Where: Gallery 1855, in the Davis Cemetery District office, 820 Pole Line Road
Photographer Rick York, whose images will be on display this month at Gallery 1855 in Davis, likes to walk through neighborhoods in San Francisco, carrying his camera and looking for surprises.
“I’ll drive to a BART station, and then BART drops me off in the Mission District, or the Financial District, or near Chinatown. And I roam,” he explains. “I’ll stay until it’s getting dark, then let BART take me back to my car. I enjoy the time by myself.”
What does he like to shoot?
“I think most photographers will tell you that you’ll be walking along, and all of a sudden, you realize, ‘There’s a photograph there.’ I tend to be really into reflections, and in some cases things that people might ordinarily walk by. That’s what a photographer does — recognizes things that are interesting, but other people (in a hurry) might not notice.”
York likes to us a modern digital camera — a versatile device that is sufficiently small that it doesn’t draw a lot of attention. He prefers not to go about “lugging one of those big heavy digital single-lens reflex cameras,” which tend to draw stares and sometimes questions. York prefers to pass through neighborhoods unobtrusively.
Naturally, he’s sensitive to lighting. Many photographers like to work in the early morning, or late in the day.
“Photographers will tell you that the best time is when the shadows are longest,” York said. “But in the city, it might be noon when the light is coming down between buildings on some of the narrower streets.”
Roughly two dozen of York’s street scenes will be on display at Gallery 1855, in the office of the Davis Cemetery District, 820 Pole Line Road.
“The majority of them were taken in San Francisco, and actually, they were all taken within the last three months,” he said.
But York has been taking pictures a lot longer than that: ”I’ve been involved with photography on and off since I was in high school.”
York grew up in Southern California, “and I’ve been working my way north since that time.” He attended Humboldt State University on California’s north coast, studying botany and photographing plants. He eventually arrived in Davis in 1980, and worked for 30 years in state government, mostly with the California Energy Commission and the California State Parks. He retired in fall 2012.
He’s adapted his approach to photography over the years. He started taking pictures in the era of film, then changed gears after his son graduated from high school and headed to college.
“I found I wasn’t doing as much with sports,” York recalled, “so that’s when I got my first digital camera.”
And gradually, his interest shifted from plants and flowers to street scenes.
“My images are not meant to be documentary,” he added. “Instead, I hope that they inspire others to realize the interesting and beautiful images that are available to all, if you just slow down and pay attention.”
Along with several other local photographers, York participates in a group known as Best of Seven. The group’s name, he explained, has “nothing to do with our being ‘the best of’ anything. We picked the name during the World Series in 2011, and to win the World Series, you’ve got to win the best of seven games.
“We meet once a month, getting together in one of our homes, and bring our prints, and talk about them. We instruct one another, and sometimes take trips together. We keep it to seven people — if we had more people, there wouldn’t be enough time” to talk about pictures being shared in sufficient depth.
York is very pleased to have his pictures displayed at Gallery 1855.
“Having a gallery in a cemetery district office is a quirky Davis thing. I love it,” York said. “It’s unusual and at the same time very educational and easy to take in. It’s a feather in the community’s cap to have something like this available.”
York’s exhibit will open Thursday and continue through Jan. 31. The Pole Line Road entrance gate to the cemetery is locked except for funerals, but the East Eighth Street entrance is always open. The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8055.