Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
North Beach changing /
Collection Number:
Collection Overview


North Beach changing


Thompson, Kirk, creator, photographer.


Photographer's documentation of appearances, social life and customs observed in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, a location familiar to him since the 1950s. Main portfolio (box 1) divided into sections: "Street scenes"; "Businesses boutiques"; "Sounds of music"; "Eat, drink, etc."; "Denizens / abitante". General subjects include local residents, tourists, street scenes, storefronts, cafe and restaurant scenes, musicians, artists, homeless persons, signs, murals, graffiti, and the Italian-American imprint of the neighborhood. Among the identified establishments are City Lights Books, Caffé Vesuvio, Hungry I, Beat Museum, Golden Boy Pizza, Gino & Carlo, Mara's Italian Pastries, O'Reilly's and Kearny Adult Superstore. Other subjects include crowd scenes in Washington Square, SantaCon SF revelers and a Chinese funeral. Appendix I photographs (box 2) depict window displays, architectural details, interior design, decor and furniture. Appendix II photographs (box 2) depict scenes of customers, workers and musical performers at Caffe Trieste, including an image of founder Giovanni Gotta ("Papa Gianni") at the microphone.


2004 (issued)


Storefronts -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs
Coffeehouses -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs
Restaurants -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs
Homeless persons -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs
Musicians -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs
Tourists -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs
Mural painting and decoration -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs
Streets -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs
Italian Americans -- California -- San Francisco -- Photographs
Devantures de magasin -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Photographies
Cafés -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Photographies
Restaurants -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Photographies
Sans-abri -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Photographies
Musiciens -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Photographies
Touristes -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Photographies
Rues -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Photographies
Américains d'origine italienne -- Californie -- San Francisco -- Photographies
Homeless persons
Italian Americans
Manners and customs
Mural painting and decoration
North Beach (San Francisco, Calif.) -- Photographs
North Beach (San Francisco, Calif.) -- Social life and customs -- 21st century
San Francisco (Calif.) -- Photographs
California -- San Francisco
California -- San Francisco -- North Beach
Caffe Trieste (San Francisco, Calif.) -- Photographs


Kirk Thompson.
Title and date from title sheet insert.
Backs of all prints signed and numbered by photographer.
Boxed and arranged as received.
Set includes portfolio North Beach changing (111 photographs); North Beach changing, appendix I: artifacts / other people's art (24 photographs); and North Beach changing, appendix II: Caffe Trieste (18 photographs).
Includes printed inserts: title sheets, introductory text sheets, section title sheets.
From photographer's introductory texts: "These photographs were taken in the first decade of the twenty-first century, when change accelerated not just in North Beach, but in San Francisco as a whole... North Beach hadn't become, like Fisherman's Wharf, just a tourist trap. It was still full of joy; red wine, art, music, poetry, and espresso continued to flow freely. And even as ways of life changed, the neighborhood retained a distinctive character or ethos. This is the sense of time, place and culture that I've tried to capture." Appendix I: "This appendix... focuses on artifacts and images placed on public display. It records some of the neighborhood's noticeable styles, tastes, and whimsies in form, color, composition, font, and architectural detail... the babble and poetry of North Beach streets." Appendix II: "By its own claim, 'The Caffe has become famous across the world for its combination of essences: Old Italy, Bohemian poets, art and music, and excellent espresso.' And I have a claim of my own, as a customer-client in the opening year. I've been a regular visitor, especially when it was a gathering spot of photography faculty and students from the nearby San Francisco Art Institute".
Gift ; of Kirk Thompson ; 2021.
North Beach changing, BANC PIC 2022.024, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.


Digital prints.

Physical Description:

153 photographs in 2 boxes : color digital prints ; prints 43 x 62 cm, boxes 53 x 64 cm