Feel the liberal eclecticism in Dominic Taylor’s photographic love letter to San Francisco
When the Sunderland-born art director moved to San Francisco, he picked up the camera as a vehicle to snatch as many unique moments in his new, eclectic community.
- Jyni Ong
- 24 January 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Originally from Sunderland in the north east of the UK, Dominic Taylor studied graphic design at Northumbria University before moving down south to start off his career as an art director in the country’s capital. A few years later, he found himself in a climate starkly contrasting to the often wet and windy UK, living in sunny California. Working as an art director in Apple’s worldwide marketing team, Dominic set up home in San Francisco’s The Castro, a neighbourhood synonymous with queer culture where huge rainbow painted stripes line the broad streets.
“It’s just a really openly friendly, safe place for anyone to really express who they are,” Dominic tells It’s Nice That. Inspired by the area and its community-led spirit, the art director and graphic designer was eager to document his experience living in the Eureka valley, and started photographing the inner snippets of his daily findings. “I really admired seeing people not caring about what other people think and just being,” says Dominic on the relaxed atmosphere. “You can walk out the house and literally see anything.”
One time, when walking down the street, he saw a guy on a motorbike pulling up with a passenger in the sidecar. On further inspection, the art director and budding photographer saw that the passenger was in fact, “a small goose wearing a small goose-sized helmet.” Elsewhere, there’s a man who only walks around with one sock and a variety of anti-Trump messages plastered across his right buttock. Witnessing such joyful instances first hand, Dominic wanted to “try and snatch as many of these moments,” picking up the camera as a result and setting himself a self-initiated brief.
As a new resident in the area, photography became a good way to meet local people and become more involved in the community. And, having been exposed to a many number of artists and photographers as an art director, Dominic utilised his background to develop his aesthetic. “I’ve been exposed to a lot of different photographic agents,” says Dominic, “and this really developed a love of portraiture and documentary photography.” Curious as to what his creative take on the camera could be, he decided to give photography a try, and without a doubt, the results are evocatively beautiful.
Though San Francisco has undergone monumental changes in recent years due to the rapid growth of Silicone Valley workers moving to the city, for Dominic, change has always been a part of the city’s rich history. “The gold rush in 1848,” he recalls, “The recovery from devastating earthquakes, Harvey Milk’s groundbreaking election and fight for LGBTQI+ rights. There’s definitely a juxtaposition of layers of history alongside new technology.” For example, there are Thrasher skateboarders riding alongside software engineers on electric onewheels.
One thing that doesn’t seem to change however, and certainly hasn’t in Dominic’s time in San Francisco, is the inimitable, free-wheeling spirit that continues to grow and be felt across the eclectic city. All in all, Dominic hopes viewers will look at the series and “feel a sense of freedom to express who you are. It’s something everyone should feel comfortable to do. It’s a love letter to the city and its unique spirit, and I hope people can get a feel of the place through the imagery,” he ends.
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.