Book review: “The Mission” photographs by Dick Evans

Dale Evans The Mission, San Francisco
Cover art of The Mission featuring the photographs of Dick Evans

Post contributed by Lisa Crovo Dion

It’s summer and my kids have already been out of school for more than a week. So before travel and camps kick in, we’ve been exploring our city of San Francisco.

Over the weekend it was an excursion to Chinatown where my son bought himself his third fidget spinner, this one metal with red gems on it. These things are all the rage among the 9-year-old set.

fidget spinner
The fancy fidget spinner.

We’ve also been to North Beach where we stop at XOX truffles, then hang out at Joe DiMaggio Playground where there is also a pool and a library.

But we also spend a lot of time in the Mission, arguably the city’s most colorful and vibrant neighborhood. In a town that is generally cool and foggy all summer, the Mission’s microclimate (usually sunny) is a welcome respite and a reminder of what summer is like in most places beyond the bubble.

I was recently sent a copy of The Mission, a gorgeous hardcover book featuring the photos of Dick Evans with a foreward by Juan Felipe Herrera which inspired me to get out and ramble through the illustrated streets, immersing myself in the color, culture, and history that decorate and define this neighborhood.

Within the 162 pages are 178 full-color photographs that capture the Mission District’s large scale murals in bold, radiant glory as well as glimpses into the soul of the area—the artists who created the tableaux, the residents, architecture, local businesses and markets, homes, festivities, daily, and the Mission Dolores.

The book is peppered with quotes, poems, and essays from the Mission’s artists, writers, and leaders, written musings on the history and influence of Mexican and Central American culture in the Mission.

Juan Felipe Herrera, who wrote the foreward, is the current United States Poet Laureate. Here he discusses the importance of the local murals and how they reflect the surrounding community, creating a visual history of free expression. The murals depicted display this rich heritage through portraits of the area’s martyrs, icons, leaders, sports heroes, musicians, and mothers.

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While The Mission is a celebration of much, it also laments the changes inflicted on this neighborhood by greed, gentrification, and violence. The poems and excerpts are raw and real and tinged with pain. Just like the Mission.

Tomorrow camp starts for one of my children, but my boy and I will head to the Mission, fancy fidget spinner in hand, to enjoy the sun, the Latin vibe, and all the beauty and raw emotion of the murals.

All of the proceeds from The Mission go to the Precita Eyes Muralists Association

The Mission
Photographs by Dick Evans; Foreword by Juan Felipe Herrera; Introduction by Carla Wojczuk
Heydey, Berkeley, California
Hardcover, 11 x 11
176 pages
178 full-color photographs
Pub Date: April 2017