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Hear Here: Visit The Harvey Milk Photo Center


What’s a place in your neighborhood that means something to you – and why? Our Hear Here community storytelling project wants to know the answer. Over the past few weeks, KALW News reporters have fanned out to places all over the Bay Area – parks, churches, markets, and other public places – to ask the people there why these spots are special. KALW’s Steven Short visit the Harvey Milk Photo Center in the Castro and brought back this story from ReynaldoCayetano.

REYNALDO CAYETANO: My name is Reynaldo Cayetano and I’m a “Junior.” My mom tells me to tell people that.

I am from South of Market and we are here today at the Harvey Milk Photo Center. I always welcome people, you know, “Welcome to the Dark Side.”

It’s very important to me. This is where I create. I do film photography. I process film here. I print here. And I’m in good with a lot of photography folks here, too. My mentor actually brought me here. We met in a photojournalism class in City College. I’m doing black and white processing. I’ve done color processing here before, but the majority of the work I do here is black and white.

If you get to go inside the darkroom, where the wet lab – the wet room – it’s public. So as much as people think the dark room is solitary, you get to talk while you’re over the developer and you get to mingle with a few people. And you see other work as well, so you see a lot of different styles and different appreciations, and different angles and perspectives as well. And for me, I believe, a person’s photography style reflects a personality, and that can be seen here, so.

I like doing street photography, so my aesthetics is not to be noticed, so you capture the moment as sincere and genuine as you can. And I always emphasize that the eyes need to be in a photo. ‘Cuz it definitely shows the most emotion. I just feel that film photography has the soul, still.

My first film camera was supposed to be for my friend, for her 21st birthday. But she passed away two months before. So, actually today’s her birthday.

When I started film photography, it’s definitely a place of healing, and place of identity, so yeah.

It’s just a great place to be. I’m coming up two years here, and I’ve learned so much. I’ve done a lot of growing here as a photographer. And when I travel as well I talk highly of this place. It’s the largest public dark room in the nation, I believe.

Want to share your story with Hear Here? If you’ve got a story of a significant place, visit the Participate page at www.hearkere.kalw.org and tell it to us!

You can also find the project on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at@hearhereradio.

Hear Here is part of a national initiative of AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio, Inc designed to bring new journalistic and technical ingenuity to extending public media service to more Americans. From Chinese restaurants in Boston, to shuttered factories in Dayton, to the oil fields of North Dakota, to Bay Area startups, the ten Localore production teams are working with their public station incubators to uncover ground-up stories of America in transition. Follow their development, and learn more atLocalore.net.