At streel level collection of San Francisco's day-in-a-life random moments of her residents and visitors 40 years after I arrived using the iPhone and Hipstamatic.

Project Profile, Street Photography, and Rick Rocamora


My work as a documentary photographer was inspired by the classic tradition of documentary photography of W.Eugene Smith. 

In July of 2012 while I was browsing on Smiths’ book “Dream Street” about Pittsburgh, I felt a strong urge to do a similar long-term project using a different tool. Since I am already using an iPhone documenting Metro-Manila riding on a taxicab, it will be a good counterpoint to do San Francisco while walking using the same tool.

 San Francisco has changed so much from the city that welcomed me 40 years ago. It is now a city of diverse population, with multi-cultural social and political activity. San Francisco is known for its innovation in ideas, arts, politics, food, fashion, new technology, music, and many more.

To do this project, I decided to use the Streets of San Francisco as the common tread to document the changes. Seeing San Francisco at street level will give my audience a unique view of the city as I walk her streets, attend festivals and political events, and capture the day-in-a-life moments of her residents and her visitors. I hope to capture its vibrancy, excitement, aesthetics and everything uniquely San Francisco using the tool of the 21st century, the iPhone and Hipstamatic apps.


Our task is to capture extraordinary moments. We have to compose within a frame and find connections between objects which may be simple or complicated but always easily understood. Our task as a street photographer is to draw the viewer to the heartbeat of a place through the interaction of people, good light, memorable compositions and decisive moments that can draw a reaction of laughter, anger, sorrow, or simply “wow.”

Street photographers are required to have an observant eye and a mind that can see subtleties quickly. It requires patience to wait for the right moment and the right light, and be at the right place at the right time. It requires agility to be in the right position in a split second while being a fly on the wall and almost invisible.

To achieve these qualities in street photographs, we have to commune with the elements of the street without disrupting the scene because of our presence, be prepared to handle the consequences of our subjects’ reactions, and most importantly, be alert to those nuggets of the extraordinary.

Street photography is unpredictable and unscripted.


RICK ROCAMORA has won awards for his images and picture stories from Asian American Journalist Association, SF Bay Area Press Photographers Association, New California Media, Media Alliance,; he was awarded a California Arts Council Art Fellowship and a Local Bay Area Heroes Award from KQED and Union Bank of California for his work about Filipino WW II Veterans.

 His work has been published in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and other national and international print and online publications.

 His work is widely exhibited in national and international museums and galleries. His work is part of the permanent collection of San Francisco Museum of Moden Arts, U.S. State Department Art in Embassies program, and private and institutional collectors. His work is included in the traveling exhibition “Points of Entry-A Nation of Strangers,” which was exhibited at the Smithsonian, Center for Photographic Arts, Museum of Photographic Arts, and other venues.

 His images are part of “Pork and Perks – Corruption and Governance in the Philippines” a National Book Award winner in the Philippines in 1994.

“Second-Class Veterans” a film produced by Don Young that profiled Rocamora’s undying efforts to document the day-to-day lives of Filipino veterans was broadcast on PBS stations in 2003 and 2004. His book about Filipino WWII veterans, “America’s Second-Class Veterans” was published in 2009.

 Rocamora worked for 18 years in the US pharmaceutical industry in sales and management positions before launching a career in documentary photography.

 Rocamora co-founded Exposure Gallery in San Francisco with Pulitzer winner Kim Komenich.

 Recently, Rocamora was one of the featured speakers at the TEDx Diliman event in Manila.

 In 2012, his work was exhibited at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Ben Cab Museum in Baguio, Joyce Gallery in Oakland, California, University of the Philippines College of Law, and Human Rights Center at the Ateneo de Manila University in Makati, Philippines.

His iPhone images was exhibited at the Haus of Hipstamatic in San Francisco on April 2013.

His work “LIFE’S ARCADE: QUIAPO” will be exhibited at the Vargas Museum in the Philippines in November 2013 and his work “Clogged Veins of Justice” will be exhibited in Bangkok, Thailand also in November. Unpredictable: San Francisco Streets will be exhibited at the Manila Heritage Foundation Center in San Francisco on January 2014.




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