The Individuals of San Francisco by Jason Madara
Any city, any community, is a collection of people. Its make up and status as a destination is reliant upon the people who populate it. Few cities are better known for their people than San Francisco, full of radicals and businessmen, hippies and the old guard. Jason Madara counts himself among the artists of San Francisco, operating his studio out of the City by the Bay. But it was George McCalman, Art Director of McCalmanCo, who proposed they take a look at their community and document the individuals that make San Francisco so unique. Jason and George have been friends for years, even sharing a studio together. The initial conversation for this project, that they call “Individuals,” took place in 2009. It wasn’t until earlier this year, six years later, that they were finally able to get the shoot together.
They brought together a diverse group of artists and entrepreneurs from all over the city, people who had supported Jason, McCalman, and their communities, to be the best representation of what San Francisco is. Photographers, Writer, Chefs, Architects, Designers, Florists. These are the people that stand behind storefronts and prepare the morning coffee. They design the buildings and paint the walls inside them. They are how a city works. “For me and George this is to show the creativity of San Francisco,” explains Jason. “It’s such an amazing, creative place where a lot of people just stay in the shadows. They don’t really come out and be seen. Especially artists.” Because of this project these previously anonymous artists will be seen.
The array of crucial positions that keep the city moving is juxtaposed against the stark and simple backgrounds that Jason and McCalmanCo chose to set the tone. They’re textured sheets and broad white boards, making the faces of these characters pop out so that we see who they are rather than what they represent. In a city of nearly one million inhabitants, it’s easy to forget that every life is unique. But thanks to “Individuals” we’ll never make that mistake.
“Individuals” is an ongoing collaboration between Jason Madara and George McCalman and the shots included here represent the fruits of their first shoot. Jason and George intend to continue documenting the creative people around them with the culminating goal of completing a book. Stay tuned!