Mark Citret 

San Francisco: from the 1970s to the 21st Century 


December 1, 2012 - January 5, 2013


Please join us for a special Holiday Opening Reception 

featuring our traditional Danish Gløgg!

Saturday, December 1, 6-9PM


“We are now confronted with the notion that “architecture” has an evolution and “life-cycle” much like any other landscape. Seen this way, the distinction between “architecture” and “landscape” as different photographic subjects becomes unnecessary. Each is merely a reflection of primal physical forces: those which build, and those that erode.”

- Mark Citret

Smith Andersen North is proud to present Mark Citret: San Francisco, from the 1970s to the 21st Century, a survey of over forty years of photographic work in the Bay Area. While Citret’s mist-enshrouded landscapes portray a timeless, pictorial sensibility - set against his equally reverent construction sites and sewage treatment plants, they tell a slightly different story. While much contemporary landscape photography since the ‘70s documents the tension between the manmade and the “natural” environment, there is little conflict here: the construction sites that Citret envisions are empty, cathedral-like contemplative zones that share more in common with Notre Dame and the rugged cliffs of Northern California than strip malls or new developments. In Citret’s eyes (in part aided by his rare, tonally subtle vellum printing process) they are all made of the same stuff in an endless flux of creation and destruction. With Citret as guide, the eye here is left to its own devices, to settle in spaces and contemplate relationships, and come up with its own conclusions. 

Mark Citret was born in 1949 in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in San Francisco. He began photographing seriously in 1968, and received both his BA and MA in Art from San Francisco State University. In the early 1970s, he began his career as one of Ansel Adams’ field and darkroom assistants and developed a masterful printing technique, favoring a warm, ultrathin vellum-like paper that he stockpiled when it was discontinued by Kodak in 1994. From 1973 to 1975 he lived in and photographed Halcott Center, a farming valley in New York’s Catskill Mountains. 

In the mid to late 1980s, Citret produced a large body of work with the working title of “Unnatural Wonders”, which is his personal survey of architecture in the national parks. He spent four years, 1990 to 1993, photographing “Coastside Plant”, a massive construction site in the southwest corner of San Francisco. Since he moved to his current home in 1986, he has been photographing the ever-changing play of ocean and sky from the cliff behind his house. Currently he is in the midst of a multi-year commission from the University of California San Francisco, photographing the construction of their 43 acre Mission Bay life-sciences campus.

Citret has taught photography at the University of California Berkeley Extension since 1982 and the University of California Santa Cruz Extension since 1988, and for organizations such as the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Ansel Adams Gallery, and Santa Fe Workshops. His work is represented by prominent photography galleries in the United States, and is in many museum, corporate, and private collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography, and the Monterey Museum of Art. A monograph of his photographs, Along the Way, was published by Custom & Limited Editions, San Francisco, in 1999. He lives in Daly City, California.


Click here for more images by Mark Citret.






Top: Mark Citret, Empty Room, Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant, 1992. Vellum silver print, 11 x 14 inches
Bottom: Mark Citret, Sutro Ruins #2, 1972. Vellum silver print, 11 x 14 inches