Text and Photos by Brett Walker
These photos were taken for much of the same reasons I take any other photo. I see what I do as an artist as a form of world building and creating different conversations that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I believe it’s very easy to live a passive life, to become enmeshed in one’s existence and to never venture outside of our daily world. I’ve been told that true intellect is not a measure of one’s knowledge but rather the ability one has to change that knowledge and to experience other things outside of what they would have previously held to be true. My inspiration in photographing the goings on at Folsom Street Fair largely came about from the realization that San Francisco is a vastly different and strangely beautiful place where a ton of different cultures and conversations take place. Although much of what takes place at Folsom — and the general history of San Francisco and its sex positive culture — is worlds away from how I was raised, it’s still something I would like to participate in. I have many friends in the LGBT community and I want to be a part of their world, I think Folsom and everything it stands for are things that need to exist in continual popular discourse.
I definitely feel like I have some sort of personal connection to these photos, otherwise I wouldn’t have the desire to keep taking them and to build upon the previous years’ works. One of the things I feel like I connect with, and am generally interested in photographing, is the confidence I find in many different individuals participating in the festivities. It’s such a public display of ones beliefs and morals, I love the energy I find in people at Folsom and their ability to go out in public and proclaim their existence.
I’ve been making pictures for a long, long time. It all began when I was kid, I was always fascinated by the domestic photographic practices I witnessed unfolding in my home growing up. My grandpa Big Al was a notorious picture taker, as were my parents. The family photo album was this amazing record of existence, with no single author — it was an exceptionally complex record of time and place. These things led me to begin making my own pictures, which I started doing in earnest when I was in high school.