A selection of photographs by Frederic Larson. Courtesy images.

PictureFrederic Larson. Courtesy image.

Journalists tell other people’s stories for a living, and photojournalists do so visually. Few Bay Area photojournalists have told those stories as well as former San Francisco Chronicle photographer Frederic Larson, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Milley Award winner for visual arts in 2010.

Larson will be sharing many of those stories in a casual, unfiltered way on March 23 at the latest “Pop-In Happy Hour,” a gathering co-hosted by Bob Bijou of Two Neat and Daniel Patrick and Erma Murphy of Murphy Productions. The event is at Two Neat at111 Throckmorton Ave. from 5-7pm. 

“It’s an opportunity to spend time with old friends and new ones at Two Neat,” Patrick says. “Bring a bottle of your favorite beverage and a glass. Mix and mingle, chat and bingle.”

Larson, who will be on hand at the happy hour, covered all types of assignments in his 30-plus years at the Chronicle, from fires to football, earthquakes to celebrities. It is his intimate photos of nature – particularly of the sun, moon, and the Bay Area’s renowned fog – at play with San Francisco’s monuments and icons that have captivated readers for years. In 2006 with the help of former Chronicle publisher and former Mill Valley resident Phil Bronstein, Larson published Mystical San Francisco, which showcases his photographs shot from unusual camera angles and imaginative viewpoints, providing new perspectives on the beauty and magic of the City by the Bay, under moonlight, shrouded in fog and featuring the writing of legendary Chronicle columnist Herb Caen.

In 2016, Larson showcased his mixed media artwork, in which he used some of his photos as a base and mixed in the use of paint, epoxy resin, metals and pieces of found art to create something else entirely, at the Mill Valley Chamber.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1949, Larson grew up in the Chicago suburbs and graduated with a degree in radio and television from San Francisco State University in 1975 where he would later teach a course in photojournalism. For four years after graduation, Larson was a freelance photographer for United Press International in San Francisco. He served six years in the U.S. Naval Reserves.

Larson moved to Mill Valley in 1981. Over the course of his career, Larson garnered more than 50 photography awards. In 1988, he was the first photojournalist to win the Hibakusha Travel Grant Program to photograph the WWII atom bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The photographic material from the Hibakusha story was a finalist in the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography.

Larson was twice named Photographer of the Year for 1989-90 from the California Press Photographers’ Association and 1991’s Photographer of the Year from the Bay Area Press Photographers Association. In 1988, he was awarded the Associated Press Sweepstakes from the News Executives Council of California and Nevada. In 1987 and 1990 he was elected to the Photography Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, for best and second best sports feature photograph.

“While the recognition and awards I have received for my photography have been nice, they are not the reason I do what I do,” Larson says. “The stories I have documented and hope to continue documenting are those that provoke discussion and bear witness to those without the power or voice to be heard on their own.”

The 411: The latest “Pop-In Happy Hour” from Bob Bijou of Two Neat and Daniel Patrick and Erma Murphy of Murphy Productions, this time celebrating the work of former San Francisco Chronicle photographer Frederic Larson, is set for Friday, March 23, 5-7pm, at Two Neat at 111 Throckmorton Ave.

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