Superbowl Confidential by Beth Yarnelle Edwards in Sausalito

This photo came as a surprise since I rarely shoot landscapes. I was at a Super Bowl party and found myself more interested in the view out my host’s window than the game! My usual photographs are portraits of individuals or families in their homes. You can see them in my monograph Suburban Dreams.

Name:Beth Yarnelle Edwards

Photographer and university professor (ESL).


Photography, art, photography.

Tell us about San Francisco:

San Francisco is a gorgeous city, blessed with a diverse population and infinite cultural and culinary options. It has recently become a center of the tech industry with companies like Twitter opening headquarters here. Since it’s now an extremely expensive place to live, many are moving across the bay to Oakland or leaving the area entirely. I believe there are fewer school­-age children in San Francisco than in any other major US city.

What is a perfect day in San Francisco?

If I’m not shooting for my Suburban Dreams project, my perfect day would be waking up late and leisurely and then walking downtown via Mission and Valencia Streets, stopping for coffee, lunch, and shopping along the way. Four miles later, I’d see a movie at the Embarcadero Center or visit one of our many great museums. After that, I’d take the MUNI home and get together with friends for dinner and conversation.

What is the best thing about San Francisco?

The people, the culture, the food, and the easy access to mountains, ocean, rivers, the redwoods, and the wine country.

What is the worst?

The high prices and the weather, which is often cold, windy, foggy and depressing.

What would be surprising about this place to an outsider?

The city is built on several steep and daunting hills. But if you’re clever, you can walk or bike a long way without much climbing. The walk downtown I described earlier is basically flat.

If San Francisco was a person or character who would it be?

It would be Anna Madrigal, the central character of Armisted Maupin’s Tales of the City. In San Francisco, we’re not always who we appear to be.

Who are three of your favorite photographers right now?

That’s a really hard question. It often depends on what I looked at last. At Paris Photo LA this year, I really enjoyed the photos of Laurent Millet and J. John Priola. I always love August Sander, Jeff Wall, Gilbert Garcin, and Jessica Backhaus. Oh, there are so many! I could go on and on.



Name:Beth Yarnelle Edwards

City:San Francisco

Best place to eat?

I have too many favorites to narrow it down. Since I’m primarily a vegetarian but will eat fish, I favor small ethnic restaurants. Two great ones, which are also delightfully cheap, are Udupi Palace on Valencia and La Taqueria on Mission between 24th and 25th. The latter sometimes has live music as mariachis stop by as they make their way up and down the street.

Best place to drink?

We’re close to the wine country, which is great not only for wine tasting but also for walking and cycling. I prefer Sonoma because it’s lower key and less pretentious. Balletto Winery is a favorite.

Best place to shop?

If you have expensive taste but a small budget, the Goodwill is the place to go. The best one is the flagship store on Mission Street near Van Ness.

Local Tip?

Don’t call our city “Frisco” and if you’re driving watch out for aggressive cyclists. They often think local traffic laws don’t apply to them. Seriously, drive very carefully!

If someone was visiting what must they do?

Guidebooks are full of interesting ideas but I like to take visiting friends on a special walk. From Noe Valley, we take Mission to Valencia, stopping at Dave Eggers’ 826, the world’s only pirate supply story and writing center, and also at Paxton Gate, which used to sell costumed taxidermied mice but still has many amazing curiosities and beautiful gifts. When we are almost at 17th, we walk up to Mission Street via Clarion Alley, admiring the lovely murals. Once on Mission again, we go to La Taqueria for a light lunch and then we head on 24th Street towards Portrero. There are many murals to see before we reach our destination, Balmy Alley, which has the biggest concentration of murals in SF. On the way, we stop on the right side of the street to try on and possibly buy some colorful Mexican lucha libre masks, a great souvenir or gift which fits easily in one’s suitcase. We also go in to one of the local panaderias for some Mexican pan dulce and hot chocolate. If guests are still hungry, we buy hot tamales in the back of one of the small corner grocery stores.