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Flashing After Dark: Queer Nightlife Photography Then and Now

  • GLBT Historical Society Museum 4127 18th Street San Francisco, CA, 94114 United States (map)


GLBT Historical Society Museum, 4127 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94114


$5.00 | Free for members

*Limited Seating, advance RSVP recommended.

RSVP and purchase tickets here

Meet photographer Melissa Hawkins! She'll be speaking about her work, and what it was like to take nightlife pictures before digital photography. 

A panel of contemporary and classic nightlife photographers and writers will join Melissa Hawkins to share their favorite photographs and stories of venturing into the night. They will also discuss their professional methods, techniques, and address the challenges and rewards of ever-changing camera technologies, the rise of social media and selfies, and evolving denizens' attitudes toward being photographed in the midst of debauchery.

We will also screen the latest installment of the "Fathers" project, by local nightlife photographer and filmmaker Leo Herrera, which imagines an alternate future where AIDS and STDs were eradicated via a surprising part of gay party culture.     


Marke Bieschke is a nightlife historian who specializes in queer dance music and club history. He has written about Bay Area queer nightlife for more than two decades. He serves as the publisher and arts editor for 48 Hills and the SF Bay Guardian. He is a member of the Stud Collective, which owns the 52-year-old San Francisco queer bar The Stud.

Marke is the co-author of Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens (Zest Books, 2011) and the forthcoming Into the Streets: A History of Protest in the United States. His writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including The Advocate, The Guardian, The New Yorker and Vice and has been featured on NPR and affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.


Melissa Hawkins is a photographer and multidisciplinary designer. Her photographic oeuvre of the 1980s and 1990s captured San Francisco’s queer community. Many of the images were taken in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood in clubs popular during the era.Hawkins holds a degree in industrial design from San Francisco State University and studied product design at Brunel University in England.

Gareth Gooch was born in the UK and attended the prestigious Newport College of Art and Design where he studied under British photographer David Hurn, of the Magnum Photos collaborative. He worked in London for two decades first apprenticing with important photography studios and later having his own firm. The focus of his work in the last few years has been on documenting the disenfranchised sub-cultures of our time: the dynamism of street art and the artists who create it; the recent LGBT political struggle with marriage equality; and the LGBT performing arts community.

Gooch is resident photographer at weekly and monthly nights at various clubs including Beaux, The Stud, The Edge and Glamcocks. He is the official photographer of the SF Gay Men’s Chorus and his photos are regularly featured in the Bay Area Reporter and LEFT magazine where he has a monthly column called “Out and About with Gooch”.

Rick Gerharter is a San Francisco based photojournalist who has documented the queer communities of San Francisco for nearly 33 years. He is regularly published in the Bay Area Reporter of San Francisco and in a wide variety of periodicals, newspapers, books, films and exhibitions. He is a contributor to Getty Images. His work is in the collection of the Hormel Center at the San Francisco Public Library.

This program is part of the SoMa Nights: The Queer Club Photography of Melissa Hawkins exhibition, on view through May 27, 2019.

Photo credit: Melissa Hawkins, Duo with Cigar, The Eagle (undated); used with permission.