From Myles Little’s article for Time Magazine:
Once famous for its “factories, slums, laundries, machine shops, boiler works, and the abodes of the working class,” as writer Jack London noted in 1909, it changed dramatically in the 1960s when many businesses that called the district home moved out and a community of artists and gay men and women emerged in its place. In the late 1970s, in the face of then expanding dereliction and as part of efforts to remake the neighborhood, city authorities condemned many of the residential hotels that had become a hallmark of the area, displacing many residents and small businesses.
It was at this time that photographer Janet Delaney moved to the area, seeking cheap rent. Between 1978 and 1986 she captured a neighborhood at the cusp of change. One that was not salubrious — she was held up at knifepoint and had her camera stolen — but one where behind the rough edges, a small but strong community of families and businesses still thrived.
“In my first two years of college I spent a lot of time, like many people in the early 70s, thinking of formal issues, like structure, and how a photograph is constructed,” Delaney says, recalling the kind of aesthetically-driven photography she was making up until she moved to the area. ” [I was] responding to minimalism, and how photography addresses these concepts.”