San Francisco, 1955. (Charles Cushman/Indiana University)
22 photos of midcentury San Francisco in vivid color
May 11, 2023
Charles Cushman, a voracious traveler from small-town Indiana, was an early adopter of color photography. Never without his Contax IIA viewfinder camera, he shot seemingly everything that caught his eye — people, landscapes, city streets — while taking meticulous notes on each photograph. Over a period from 1938 to 1969 he amassed more than 14,500 Kodachrome color slides, considered the largest known body of early color photographs by a single photographer.
Nearly 2,000 of those pictures were captured during trips to San Francisco. They offer a rare multi-colored portrait of the city at midcentury, when middle class families could still buy homes, the skyline was dominated by art deco structures not even half as tall as the Salesforce Tower, and barefoot bohemians swaggered along Haight Street.
The California Sun combed through the collection to bring you these favorites.
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