Renowned Marin photographer Bob Hemstock took a circuitous route to Mill Valley.
“I heard the city name of “Mill Valley” for the very first time in Rita Abram’s “Mill Valley” song on the Armed Forces radio station when I was stationed at an American Air Base in Germany in 1970. One year later, upon discharge from the Air Force, a friend suggested I get an apartment in Marin and my new apartment just happened to be in Mill Valley.”
Hemstock was born in Seattle but raised in the Bay Area – “a true West Coast boy,” as he says. “I got my first camera in my teens and taught myself how to develop film and print photos in my basement darkroom. Fifty years later joined the Marin Photo Club which provided many opportunities to learn fine art photography and to show my photos in exhibits around Marin.”
The latest showcase of Hemstock’s illustrious work comes on the cover of the 2023-24 Enjoy Mill Valley Guide, which was inserted into 30,000 copies of the September issue of Marin Magazine, with another few thousand distributed at key Bay Area locations.
Hemstock’s Artist Statement is straightforward and universal: “First and foremost: “Beauty is Everywhere.” Look for it and find it.The most important thing I’ve learned from a mentor: Before you take a picture, ask yourself: “What is the subject,” then “What is the story?”
“Once I select a subject: The background is everything! Always look to picture familiar things in a new way.”
“Your subject and its story will tell you when you are standing in the right place to take the photo.”
“Just like the iconic Clocktower on the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Mill Valley’s Clocktower is at the heart of the action then and now. It ‘connected’ people arriving on train and bus in the city center with those coming from Miller Avenue, Throckmorton Avenue, East Blithedale and those using the multiple paths and lanes from all corners of our city. Today, minus the train, the Clocktower is still the epicenter of Mill Valley life.”