Eyes by James de Leon in San Francisco, California, USA

It helps to have decent balance and a strong grip when riding the bus in San Francisco – the frequent stops, the hills, the shopping bags in tight spaces.  This particular Friday morning the bus was near empty, but during rush-hour, it’s typical standing room only.

For a few years, I would pass this mural (by Chor Boogie) on my morning commute to work at a law firm on the 22nd floor of a high rise in the Financial District.  The eyes, heavy, hypnotic, nearly sleep-deprived, seemed to reflect my own at 7:30am.  The street mural reminded me of the “Eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckelberg,” a motif in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”  In the novel, a worn-out billboard featured a set of eyes which seemed to “judge” the characters and their actions.  Ironically, as the mural’s eyes gazed back at me each morning, I found myself staring out onto Market Street, peering at the lives of people on the sidewalk: feet sticking outside a cardboard box on the pavement, a business man slapping the side of the moving bus in a rush to catch it.  It’s when I see the eyes that I reach in my bag to take out my camera.

Name:James de Leon

Place you live:  San Francisco, California, USA

Place your photo was taken: Market Street, San Francisco

Occupation:  Paralegal

Preoccupation: Observation and creation

If someone was visiting, what must they do? Golden Gate Park.  Land’s End.  Mission District.  Chinatown.

A perfect meal in San Francisco? Indian food: Chicken tikka masala and potato naan at Shalimar between, Jones and O’Farrell, in the Tenderloin District.

What is the best thing about your spot? Diversity. Inexpensive food options abound.  You can get almost anywhere in the City on a bicycle.  Tourist, CEO, frat guy, struggling artist or all of the above, there’s a bar here for any ambiguously thirsty so-and-so.

What is the worst? I haven’t quite figured out how the seasons work here.  Bicycle theft is prevalent.  It’s not necessarily the absurd ramblings of the disheveled smellys permeating the air of urine that seem to disturb me, but the fact that they begin to blend-in with the urban scenery.

A little known fact about where you live? Most of Golden Gate Park pre-1870s was an expanse of sand dunes.  It was there that Skywalker moisturizer farm was built and hermit, Obi-Wan Kenobi had resided a long time ago.  (One of those statements was untrue).

Who are your three of your favorite photographers? I’ll give you 3 of my favorite Bay Area photographers: Todd HidoMichael JangTed Pushinsky