“120 years: SFMTA Photo Archive 1903-2023” Exhibit Opens Dec. 16

Share this:
Wednesday, December 13, 2023

On Saturday, Dec. 16, a new exhibit featuring photographs from the SFMTA Photo Archive is opening at the Harvey Milk Photo Center with a reception from 2 – 5 p.m. The show,“120 years: SFMTA Photo Archive 1903-2023" taps into twelve decades of image making by photographers working for our city’s transit agencies.  

A black and white vintage photo of a busy street with buses and people crossing the street.View east towards Ferry Building on Market Street from 4th Street, October 1, 1948.

Since 1903, the development of San Francisco has been documented through the lens of our transportation system by more than two dozen people. Today, these photographs make up the vast collections in the SFMTA Photo Archive. With well over 100,000 images, the archive is one of the largest repositories of photos focused on our transit network. 

A colorized vintage photo of two subway trains at the tunnel entrance of West Portal station in San FranciscoWest Portal Station with new Light Rail Vehicles at platform, February 18, 1982. 

From glass plate negatives to digital image sensors, the tools of the trade may have changed, but the work of capturing our city’s ever-evolving transportation system still is much the same. Everyday scenes of San Franciscans traversing the streets, historic moments in our local history and inexplicably beautiful views of normally mundane subjects come alive through the black and white and color prints on display in the exhibit. 

A black and white photo of an early 20th Century streetcar surrounded by a work crew and horses.Shop crew with new streetcar and team of horses at Southern Pacific Railroad yard, January 1904.

120 years: SFMTA Photo Archive 1903-2023 runs from Dec. 16, 2023, through Feb. 3, 2024. The gallery is located at 50 Scott Street on the west end of Duboce Park and is open Tuesday-Thursday 3:00pm-8:30pm and Sat 11:00am-4:30pm. Take Muni Metro, (N Judah, J Church, K Ingleside or M Oceanview), 22 Fillmore, 6 Parnassus, 7 Haight/Noriega or 37 Corbett to get to the gallery.