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The 10 Best Photo Galleries In San Francisco
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The 10 Best Photo Galleries In San Francisco

Picture of Adriana Jones
Updated: 17 October 2016
As one of the most photogenic cities in the United States and perhaps in the world, it is only fitting that San Francisco would contain some of the best photo galleries as well. From internationally recognized galleries, to the local gems, here are the ten best photo galleries in San Francisco.
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Fraenkel Gallery

Known worldwide for its art collection, the Fraenkel Gallery has been recognized as one of the best photography galleries in the world. The owner, Jeffrey Fraenkel, is a huge photography enthusiast and this passion is easily seen throughout his space. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, and Fraenkel himself will be there a majority of the time.

Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary St #450, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA +1 415 981 2661

Pier 24 Photography

Bridge, Museum
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Pier 24 Photography

Opened in 2010, the large space at Pier 24 Photography houses the collection of the Pilara Foundation. The photographs include portraiture, contemporary Bay Area photographers, and historical images of San Francisco. The seven exhibitions that have been in place since the opening of the gallery have seen various themes explored in great depth. Pier 24 is open to the public during the week and is free, but you must make an appointment first.

Pier 24 Photography, 24 Pier The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA +1 415 512 7424

Richard Learoyd, all works Fragment, 2009-16, (installation view) Collected, May 2, 2016–January 31, 2017 | Courtesy of Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco

Richard Learoyd, ‘Collected’, May 2, 2016–January 31, 2017 | Courtesy of Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco

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Robert Koch Gallery

One of the many galleries located at 49 Geary Street, the Robert Koch Gallery opened in 1979 and features photography from the 19th century onward. The gallery aims to “define and participate in the evolving understanding of the history of photography,” and the photographs reflect that. From lesser-known contemporary artists to the masters of the 19th and 20th century, this gallery has a wide and phenomenal selection.

Robert Koch Gallery, 49 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA +1 415 421 0122

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RayKo Photo Center

Located in the SOMA/South Beach area, the RayKo Photo Center provides both photo services, including a traditional darkroom and digital labs, and an impressive collection of local work alongside well-known pieces. Since the center provides a variety of facilities, there are many opportunities for local artists to have their work presented at RayKo, and it is a wonderful gallery to discover new up-and-coming artists. Plus, the stunning space alone means it’s worth a visit.

RayKo Photo Center, 428 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA +1 415 495 3773

Courtesy of RayKo Gallery

Courtesy of RayKo Gallery

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Robert Tat Gallery

Having closed their retail space, the Robert Tatt Gallery is open by appointment only for private sales, but their inventory remains one of San Francisco’s best. Showing mainly 20th century American and European works, the gallery also has a collection of 19th century and contemporary photographs, as well as vintage pictures of San Francisco. From salon photographers to human form photographs, the gallery has a large collection of fine art, which can also be viewed and purchased online.

Robert Tat Gallery, 49 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA +1 415 781 1122

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Scott Nichols Gallery

A member of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD), the Scott Nichols Gallery is a modern and friendly location. The gallery has been open for over two decades and houses contemporary photographs, as well as one of the largest private collections of Brett Weston photos in the world. The collection also includes work by Ansel Adams and Brett Weston’s father, Edward Weston. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, and can also be visited by appointment.

Scott Nichols Gallery, 49 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA +1 415 788 4641

SF Camerawork

As another gallery focused on local artists and artistic development, SF Camerawork’s exhibitions encourage San Francisco’s up-and-coming artists to achieve their full potential. The gallery is a partner of the Baum Foundation and every other year the gallery features the art of the winner of the Baum Award for An Emerging American Photographer for two months. It is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, by appointment.

SF Camerawork, 1011 Market Street, 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA +1 415 487 1011

"Littoral Drift," on view at SF Camerawork from December 10, 2015 - February 3, 2016)| ©Meghann Riepenhoff/ Courtesy of SF Camerawork
“Littoral Drift,” on view at SF Camerawork from December 10, 2015 – February 3, 2016) | ©Meghann Riepenhoff/ Courtesy of SF Camerawork
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Gendell Gallery

A private gallery that focuses on vintage and contemporary photography, Gendell Gallery has a phenomenal selection of artwork. The photographs range from figurative and classical portraiture to social-documentary works; and it also has various special exhibitions for photographers, including a current exhibition for Dorothea Lange. It can be visited by appointment, Tuesday through Saturday.

Gendell Gallery, 2100 Fell St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA +1 415 902 3793

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange | Courtesy of the Gendell Gallery

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange | Courtesy of the Gendell Gallery

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Jenkins Johnson Gallery

Although the Jenkins Johnson Gallery isn’t solely limited to photography, it is one of four galleries in San Francisco that are part of AIPAD (all of which are on this list). Karen Jenkins-Johnson was formerly the President of the San Francisco Art Dealers Association and her expertise is clear. The work at this gallery are all contemporary and feature photographers such as Gordon Parks and Roy DeCarava. It can be visited by the public Tuesday through Saturday.

Jenkins Johnson Gallery, 464 Sutter Street San Francisco, CA 94108, USA +1 415 677 0770

Omar Victor Diop, Art Comes First, 2016, Ink-jet print on Harman by Hahnemuhle paper. © Omar Victor Diop, Courtesy Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

Omar Victor Diop, Art Comes First, 2016, Ink-jet print on Harman by Hahnemuhle paper. © Omar Victor Diop, Courtesy Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

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Themes + Projects

Previously known as Modernbook, Themes + Projects will be a part of The Minnesota Street Project. Although the gallery is not formally open yet, appointments can be made to view the pieces that it houses. The range of photographic themes in Themes + Projects is extraordinary; showcasing mixed media photos to naturalistic photos. Add this gallery to your must-visit list.

Modernbook, 49 Geary St, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA +1 415 732 0300