Catherine Herrera Photography exhibits in San Francisco – January 2014

'The Americans' Exhibit Invitation

‘The Americans’ Exhibit Invitation, San Francisco, January 2014.

The Americans, San Francisco Photography Exhibit

I was so glad to exhibit as part of The Americans in San Francisco, and to share one of the images from ‘Landless Indian’ series. The editing process is coming along, and I am excited to vision the day when I can announce pre-sales for the book and print series.


Christmas Holiday Card 2013 on sale now!

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Click on the image above to order Christmas and Holiday cards for delivery before Thanksgiving!


Do you like the image and want to order a print as a gift for this holiday season?

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Quality prints available at reasonable prices with framing, matting or without any wall hanging. Order now to meet Christmas and Holiday gift preferred shipping dates.

Collectors and art investors can also order by clicking on the image BOVE FOR a signed, numbered, archival museum quality print, reviewed personally and shipped with care and packing.

New Journeys: When you least expect it!

As everyone knows well, being an employed photographer in the newspaper industry today, one must bring a range of skills to the table, not only photography but other storytelling traditions as well. Often, that means having strong writing and steller video skills in one’s photojournalism toolbox.

Lately, my writing skills have been used less for this blog, and more on an assignment. I am happy to report, its sparked the memory of what attracted me to journalism in the first place.

This month, I have two photos and two articles published in a San Francisco paper. Tear sheets will be posted soon.

For a long time, I really felt most comfortable in the photographer-only role. Even as I saw the industry shifting, I still respected – as I did with news and filmmaking – the valued role each member contributed when journalism was still mainly a team sport. Making it to the big leagues – on staff for an amazing publication that still sends photographers out on assignment – is still a team sport. Even still, diversifying skills is vital.

So, I left my comfort zone, I’ve started out for new territory – writing. I’ve noticed a lot of similarities with photography. I wish I had been more courageous sooner to try my hand at publishing more often.

Now that I’ve added article writing to my publications list, I’ve been encouraged to move ahead with publishing my first book. More news on that later.

Writing articles offers a blending with the best of what attracted me to photojournalism in the first place – meeting people of all types, learning how others ‘do life,’ and the opportunity to open a window between people. I like assignments that present new perspective on the world and companies that bring solutions to market needs.

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One of the assignments I covered last month took me to the first ever Urban Air Market at San Francisco’s southern waterfront. The Sunday market that warm day brought together local producers of creative faire and art, DIY indie companies whose products are infused with  San Francisco’s enduring spirit of gritty creativity, and innovation.

It was great to meet some of the locals, and to learn how they are fairing in these challenging economic times. Many are creating thriving businesses with clientele around the country and world.

So, remember to be open on the journey and where it might lead, remain flexible and keep an eye on the gift of being commissioned to tell a story – however the medium is presented and continue to work. Over time, the experiences add up and new opportunities develop!

These assignments are introducing  me to a broader section of the San Francisco business community, a chance to see the rich production of our city’s eclectic landscape. New clients are innovative creators that I enjoy working together to create engaging, unique photography to boost online and brick and mortar sales.  I am expanding my market for creative commissions with San Francisco businesses, and reaching customers seeking photography prints for interior designing of office and home. I offer clients flexible licensing options for digital and print advertising, brochures, and client communications.

Contact today for a commission or to walk through the archive for a particular print or license.

Content consultation services involve assessing a business’ media content and developing a marketing strategy with content to match.

Remaining Spirits and Ruth Asawa: San Francisco Sculptor Remembered

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Sometimes, the photography journey is interrupted by real life and its demands. Often, the camera is there too, capturing those most difficult moments.

At times, not even framing can change what we see before our eyes.

Recently, my Grandma Mary passed away. She was one month shy of her 99th birthday. I loved my Grandma Mary and felt strongly connected, returning here to Northern California after Mexico, after Canada, to be with her. I was lucky to have 12 more years of time with her, time when she was lucid and present, and we could enjoy time talking and laughing together. She had a peaceful last 20 years of her life with few health problems, and, any health challenges she faced, she got up and over, surprising many.

I always called Grandma when I could not travel to see her. I called so often, she wondered whether I had a job, and worried that I spent too much time calling her! When I first arrived back in the US, I used to feel hurt when she’d say that to me. Working from a home studio made no sense to her.

Yet, still, did working mean one had to forget about one’s grandma??

I also felt perhaps she made these comments because my artistic lifestyle had been the subject of speculations, many speculations. If I called Grandma Mary during the day, she’d wonder if the speculation was true.

In 2012, I was so excited to share with Grandma Mary that I’d be showing one of my video installations at the de Young Museum.

Maybe I had not been a huge financial success, yet, I hoped Grandma Mary might see that all the speculation, in the end, was simple gossip.

‘The de Young, wow, swanky!,’ grandma had said. I knew that was probably the best I could get – yes, she was proud of me, and I heard that in her voice and the things she continued to say, yet, a video installation was all still very nebulous, something people with money do – being an artist -( a bum! was the speculation on that!)and I felt once again I had crossed a line that our people were not allowed. I felt embarrassed to bring it up to her again.

It wasn’t that my grandma wasn’t proud of me being an artist. In fact, she had traveled to my first photography exhibit in Mexico City in 1996. She came all the way to Mexico  at 81 to be there with me!

Once again, I had proven to be too much, as usual.

A few days after her arrival, my partner and I shared the surprising news we were going to be parents, she a great grandma, which shocked her so much she fell off the porch walking away after hearing the news, spending the night at an Emergency Room in Mexico City. And, many more visits to doctors when she returned home.

That’s where the speculation started. That unfortunate evening when Grandma Mary fell from the porch upon hearing our news.

It took us a long time to move past that incident, she and I, mainly because I had felt so badly and she often brought up what happened.

Some family members likened that night to the day my aunt and uncle invited me and my boyfriend to take two of the horses from their ranch for a ride. My boyfriend assured them that he was quite comfortable riding. His horse spooked a short distance into our ride, rearing up, throwing my boyfriend to the ground, taking off in terror. The horse tried to jump the fence and instead, tore a gash in its leg and required stitches and expensive care.

Those events shaped the speculation, and when I returned from seven years living abroad, the speculation had gone beyond into a new realm.

I could not be present during Grandma’s funeral. Not with camera, not physically. Maybe I couldn’t say goodbye. Maybe I couldn’t see her gone. I am a very visual person, and images impact me deeply.

I guess the grieving process takes time.

Grandma Mary and my last conversation was deeply meaningful. I did not know it would be the last time. We had laughed as usual, but then, she stopped and said, ‘you sound like yourself again, a good lady you are.’

The speculation had ended.

I thought to call Grandma Mary next on Saturday, but I didn’t get a chance. I called Sunday to share the news I know she’d be so happy to hear, about Martin’s Beach where she and my grandfather always took us during the summers. The beach had been reopened after a private owner gated off the public access.

Grandma Mary was not there.

She had fallen on Saturday night and even though my aunt and uncle said she’d be ok, that she did seem fine, Grandma would pass very quickly. We never spoke again.

I hold on to the last words she said to me.

Grandma Mary’s spirit remains here in San Francisco – when she was young, in high school and riding the trolley cars after the football games, one in the group of loud, celebratory youth, laughing with joy to be out enjoying life. When she was photographed on top of Twin Peaks on the day of wedding to her new husband, my grandfather.

Grandma Mary embraced life and encouraged us all to do so as well. I am forever grateful to her for giving me permission to be happy and embrace life. Its that spirit that gave me courage as a photojournalist.

The kitchen was the main gathering place in my grandparents home. Food and talking and laughter was just the main course in their home. They had traveled around the world, and the kitchen was where the push board held photos from family and friends near and far.

Later, when I became a photographer, I remembered that cork board. I suddenly recognized the value that photography can have in bringing together family and friends. Photography, that I had made use most as a photojournalist, suddenly became personal and intimate, and its impact on the heart.

This memory allowed me to expand beyond what I had visioned previously. Photographs were much more than documents of the outside.

I made a shift to more personal work, more intimate, and revealing.

After many years of exploring photography in this way, I started doing editorial and assignment work where I was hired to create, not just document, with photography, and, I developed a new love and perspective on photography and art.

I think it was this new direction that made me such a fan and so moved by Ruth Asawa’s sculptures.

The first pieces of her work that I ever came in contact were at the de Young Museum. On permanent display, I passed her sculptures every time I came for a meeting or to work at the de Young Museum.

Ruth Asawa’s sculptures went beyond the mere sense of documentation to inhibit an intimacy that touched people across the globe.

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From the description of her work in the ‘The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the Air’ retrospective in 2006 at the de Young Museum:

‘Contours in the Air establishes the importance of Asawa’s work within the larger national context of artists who redefined art as a way of thinking and acting in the world rather than as a mere stylistic practice….In her lifelong experimentation with wire, especially its capacity to balance open and closed forms, Asawa invented a powerful new vocabulary. Committed to enhancing the quality of daily life through art produced within the home, she contributed a unique perspective to the formal explorations of 20th Century abstract sculpture.’

Ruth Asawa was considered at the time of the retrospective to be underrepresented in art history surveys of 20th century sculpture.  Dr. Daniell Cornell of the Fine Arts Museums San Francisco, curator of the ‘Contours in the Air’ retrospective, described what he felt was the reason, saying:

‘Because her work uses nontraditional materials and a manual method that appears related to knitting, weaving and craft, it is often overlooked in discussions of modernist sculpture.’

Like the cork board in my grandparents kitchen, Ruth Asawa’s sculptures go beyond what sculpture is normally confined, liberating an intimacy that draws on the heart and minds of its viewers.

Asawa’s use of hanging her sculptures went beyond the conventional display normally reserved for sculpture, like the opening scenes of any memorable film or play, the audience’s attention gravitates and is held by it unique display, in the case of Asawa’s sculptures, captivating the viewer, making one stop and pay attention.

Ruth Asawa is infused forever onto the San Francisco landscape.

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Any visit to the de Young Museum is a wonderful opportunity to view 15 of her wire sculptures on permanent display on the concourse level of the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Education Tower of the de Young museum.

Passing the sculptures often on my visit to the Hamon Tower in preparation for the ‘Bridge Walkers’ screening in September 2012 , designed itself to incorporate into the San Francisco landscape from the Tower view, I fell in love with Ruth Asawa’s sculpture.

As a person, and an artist, I hope one day to leave such a legacy, treasures found and enjoyed by generations of San Franciscans to come.

Read more about Ruth Asawa’s life and work from the SF Chronicle article that came out this week upon her passing.




‘A Stroll in Portrero Hill, San Francisco,’ photography by Catherine Herrera

October 2013

Fall is here! I’ve finally returned to this post to share the gallery of photos taken of Potrero Hill this past summer. I’ve been published in the October issue of the Potrero  newspaper. I’m so happy to be working on assignment with a newspaper again. I thought that dream was over. Perhaps it is given the way things have gone recently in the industry. Still, over and over again its shown that photographs attract viwers, and in the case of digital, can make a difference in clicks. That means a lot for businesses and local ventures vying to attract clients in the digital marketplace.

Still, I started out with the dream of being published and still love telling a story with photographs.

As I often say, I really do view every assignment as a gift and as a sustainable path on this journey in photography!

All these years later, I am absolutely thrilled when I can make a client smile with happiness and satisfaction with their original Catherine Herrera photography.

Stroll around the Gallery.

Image Licenses are available where sales are permitted. Please feel assured that the prints and products offered are reviewed for quality personally by me for all the enhanced photographs and licensing sales.

Contact me at today to discuss the art you need for your business, home or office.

Collector living in San Francisco can also request a ‘studio’ visit or meet close by for coffee for any guidance in selecting a final image.

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July 2013

Today, ‘Journey in Photography’ talks a walk down 18th Street in San Francisco’s Portrero Hill neighborhood. Tucked away with an eclectic selection of choices in cuisine and family fun with the newly remodeled library and park near Mariposa, Portrero offers a great stop for breakfast or brunch at the Plow Restaurant, or, a block away, a nite cap at Bloom’s Saloon.

More to come….

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