Dark humor, street art, grainy beauty and misery in an ugly time.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

When the order “Shelter in Place” was announced in San Francisco on March 16, 2020 and should last three weeks until April 7, 2020, two local business people, entrepreneurs and photographers, Basul Parik and Corky Engel, set out on the Way of photographing their haunted city from the streets when they encountered it. Three weeks became a year and thousands of photos.

Basul and Corky – both with long histories in photography, video, and book publishing – have now published a book of haunting, purposeful black and white photos of San Francisco during this ugly time called Flatten the Curve.

They gave me color versions of the photos, exclusive to WOLF STREET, and here are some of them, a wild, equally haunting drive through San Francisco during the lockdown, along with some black and white photos from the book.

Mission Street.


It’s getting serious: March 18th, 2020. Local markets.


Fisherman’s Wharf without tourists.


Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, dead.


Fisherman’s Wharf, restaurants and shrimp shops.


Barbershop on 18th Street.


Market street with no traffic.


Pan handle.


Homeless camp on fire.


Mission Street.


Union Street.


The great highway.


Castro theater.


Hayes Street between Octavia and Laguna Streets, May 3, 2020. Painted on boards covering a storefront.


Waller Street. Dodge the hell do it?


Kirchenstrasse.


Montgomery Street.


Montgomery Street.


Dolores Park.


Grant Avenue.


Bruno’s nightclub, Mission Street.


Broadway and Kearny Street.


Polk Street.


Four bedroom home for sale, $ 14.2 million. Photo of the ad on Polk Street between Clay and Sacramento, taken February 15, 2021. Originally listed at that price in October 2020. As of May 1, it’s still for sale, according to Zillow.


Grant Avenue, China Town, February 2021.

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