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Storied: San Francisco

May 3, 2022

Doug Salin has trouble doing anything longer than one hour.

In this podcast, the career photographer shares his life story with us. We recorded in Doug's house in the Sunnyside, the same place we met and talked with ex-San Francisco poet laureate, Kim Shuck (Part 1 / Part 2). Kim is Doug's life partner, in fact.

These days, Doug works as a robotics mentor for high school students in The City. He's been doing photography since he was four. He began college studying physics, but that didn't excite him. Somewhat by accident, he fell into mechanical engineering instead. He soon became the photo editor of the college newspaper and yearbook.

Doug figured he was destined to work in journalism. But someone he knew mentioned heading up to San Francisco to see if there were any photo jobs for him. He wasn't planning to stay in San Jose, so he came up and met Paul Hoffman.

Hoffman connected Doug with Macy's in Union Square, where there was an opening in the store's in-house photo department. He had no experience in commercial photography, but figured what the hell?

He ended up getting the job and worked in the company's dark room, which was located inside the store. Then someone asked him to help with "paste-ups," which was more like the work he did for his college yearbook.

About a year later, the photo department was looking to remodel their area of Macy's. Doug took a look at the plans and suggested something different, more efficient. They ended up going with Doug's revisions. Shortly after the renovations were made, Macy's named Doug an assistant studio manager.

He still wasn't taking photos in that situation, though. But in his experience of managing photographers, he picked up what he needed along the way.

We rewind to hear a little about Doug's German and Austrian Jewish ancestors and how they ended up in California. Please join us Thursday for Part 2 and the continuation of Doug's story.

We recorded this podcast at Doug's home in the Sunnyside in April 2022. Photography by Michelle Kilfeather