San Francisco Noir

Princeton Architectural. Oct. 2017. 224p. photos. ISBN 9781616896515. $40. PHOTOG
Those under San Francisco's spell become enthralled by its dynamic light and character: sparkling, or fog shrouded, or shadowy and mysterious, depending on time and season. Photographer Lyon is no outsider to the city. He is a fourth-generation San Franciscan and has photographed it for decades, obsessively roaming its vertiginous streets. Most of these velvety black-and-white images were taken in the 1940s and 1950s, a lost era of pillbox hats, fedoras, neon signs, stevedores, and a real fishermen's wharf. In addition to the exteriors, Lyon made vivid, up-close portraits of jazz musicians in live performance at classic long-gone venues such as Basin Street West and the Black Hawk. Unfortunately, most of the photos are not captioned with date and location (a minor quibble), but the glossy paper, attractive printing, and black cloth-bound cover with silver lettering make an attractive package. A brief introduction by journalist and author Ernest Beyl describes Lyon's lifelong passion for his native city.
VERDICT A wonderful browse that invites armchair time travelers to experience a bygone era.

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