Tag Archives: Sign

Upcoming Photo Show

I am pleased to announce that my photograph, “A Kiss on Sunset Boulevard”, has been selected for a juried exhibit at The Richmond Art Center.


In Focus: Current Photography, opens this week, and runs through March 8th, here is a link to the Art Center Exhibition page-



Copyright 2017 Jimmy Reina


There will be a reception at for the photographers at The Art Center on February 3rd from 2-5pm, I hope to see you there.



Often, when reviewing photos, I am treated to a “happy accident”-something in the shot that was not anticipated, but adds to it. I shot the Oakland Greyhound Station during the day as well, but while it is an interesting building, the photo had no pizzazz. Because of that great lighted sign, I went back at night, and took a few shots. During one of them, this car pulled up and dropped off a passenger, and the implied loneliness, makes the photograph.

Greyhound Station

Copyright 2015 Jimmy Reina


































I have a love/hate relationship with San Pablo Avenue, a major road here in the East Bay.

123 sign

For more than 25 years, I have been on it almost every single day. My home is a block off of it, and for most of the last decade of the 20th Century, I had a retail business on San Pablo Avenue  in Berkeley.

It is crowded, hectic, and it stinks of diesel fumes, but I know I can’t escape it, so I have come to grips with it.


Wikipedia starts its San Pablo Avenue entry with-

State Route 123 (SR 123) is a state highway in the U.S. state of California in the San Francisco Bay Area. Named San Pablo Avenue for virtually its entire length, SR 123 is a major north–south state highway along the flats of the urban East Bay in the U.S. state of California.


That entire article is here-




A few years ago, I had the opportunity to use some of my own photos on a desk calendar that was mailed out to my real estate clientele. There was a press deadline, so for two weeks, I drove around and shot photos of what I thought was significant or interesting in “Jimmy’s World”.

Orthodontist Sign

Dogs on Board

Cerrito Theater

When I realized that 3 out of the 13 calendar images were taken on San Pablo Avenue, it occurred to me that it might be a worthwhile project to do a San Pablo Avenue photographic road trip.

I presented a version of this series as my Final Project in my Special Projects in Photography class, and a revised version was incorporated into my website-



The photos are arranged geographically, where Frank Ogawa Plaza Anchors San Pablo in Oakland at the South end, to where it ends at The Carquinez Bridge in Crockett.


I have been asked about the situation or “backstory” behind a few of these photos, and will tell a few of those stories in the days to come.


Street Photography

Street Photographer

Street Photography.


I have been trying to make photographs for a long time, and when discussing it with others, they frequently ask, “what kind of photographer are you?”.

I never had a good answer.

“I don’t put my work into a category”, is sort of the answer, but this sounds too much like the affected response from an art student.

However, I actually never could fit it into a category*-I just photograph what I like, what I think would make a good picture. In trying, some categories were eliminated- I seldom shoot landscapes or nature, and am terrible at portraits and products.

A few years ago, in an article I read, someone used the phrase “street photographer”, and it kind of rang my bell. As I started reading more about this “category”, I saw a reflection of my own work-juxtapositions, visual puns, and interesting patterns, mostly in the man made environment. The image was what was most important, the technical matters (to me) less so.      I mean, if you are standing on the sidewalk, and saw three chickens, a horse with a purple tail, some bicyclists, and a Peacock approaching, you would think, “Damn, I need a picture of that!”.

So, I started calling myself a “Street Photographer”, and did my best to see who else was doing so.

Like most things online, all I needed was a search term, and then the world of Street Photography was like peeling an onion-peeling back one layer revealed another.

But following these online discussions frequently turn into opinionfests with the opinionor pontificating on the true Street** path. It seems to me that we are trying too hard to categorize it, to make rules.

“Those people” are trying to write the Street Photography rule book-

“In order to be ‘Street”, there must be a person in the picture”.

“In order to show how well you compose the shot, you need to print the full frame, cropping is just an excuse for sloppy composition”. This one is a film leftover, where we frequently included sprocket holes and/or the printing frame outline.

Naturally, there are gear arguments-

” (D)SLR-they are too conspicuous, when using them, you can’t be candid”.

“Zoom lenses are a crutch you have to use wide angle lenses so you can get in close. ”


And of course, there are the double edged arguments regarding cell phones-

The purists, idealists, and gearheads turn their noses up at them, while the those who are less encumbered, see it as the perfect Street camera because it is the one that you always have with you.

Wikipedia defines Street Photography as “ photography that features the human condition within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment”.

It follows this definition with, “The subject of the photograph might be absent of people and can be an object or environment where the image projects a decidedly human character in facsimile or aesthetic.”


To me, nothing more needs to be said.

To me, the image is everything, the method of getting that image is secondary, and all the rest is just “Street Photography For Dummies”.


LET ME SEE THAT TOOTSIE ROLL  Copyright 2016  Jimmy Reina


*”Category” is the generic word. Aficionados and Cognoscenti use the term “genre”. Everything sounds better in French.

** “Street” is hip shorthand for “Street Photography”. “Are you shooting ‘Street’? I have been shooting ‘Street’ for almost two years”.

The image at the top of this post is part of a diorama in the wonderful and amazing

Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

All material copyright 2014, Jimmy Reina.