About UsSee below for contact information and operation hours
Harvey Milk Photo Center
Celebrating over 75 years, the Harvey Milk Photo Center is the oldest and largest community wet Darkroom in the United States, and is associated with the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department. Harvey Milk Photo Center is located at 50 Scott Street, within Duboce Park, in the lower level of the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts building. We also offer a full Digital Lab at our facility to our members. We have been in our current location since 1954. Our program annually now exceeds over 300 classes, workshops and lectures. All exhibits, lectures, special events, memberships, are available to the public. Our wide selection of classes and workshops are taught by working professionals within the industry, in both fine arts and commercial photography. We also offer numerous scholarships for anyone living in San Francisco wishing to take our classes.
Dave Christensen, Director & Curator
San Francisco’s Premier Darkroom Space
50 Scott Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
SF Rec and Park Department’s Historian-in-Residence, Christopher Pollock, San Francisco’s first camera room facility was located at Hayes Valley Recreation Center and was created by Clifford Nelson who managed the Department’s Visual Recreation division. And the popularity grew with many local amateur shutterbugs that finally, in 1949, the Department partnered with the Northern California Council of Camera Club to hold a Photography Day on October 2, and by 1950, the event drew an attendance of 6000.
Throughout the years, the Photo Center moved to various locations, but in 1954, the City dedicated the three-story building located at 50 Scott Street to be the Recreation Arts Center that included the separate photo center of 7,800 square-feet with a huge public darkroom, the largest in the West Coast.
Then in December, 1978, SF Rec and Park Commission approved to rename the Recreation Arts Center after Supervisor Harvey Milk who was slain on November 27th and in honor the Supervisor who also owned and operated the Castro Camera Shop between 1972 until his death in 1978.
Lab operations end 1 hour before close
Transit Info The nearest Muni lines include the N-Judah (closest stop is at Noe Street/Sunset Tunnel East Portal), 24-Divisadero, and 22-Fillmore, along with the 6 and 71 lines, the F-Market, and all of the Muni Metro lines via Church Street Station. Parking Street parking in the area is limited. There is a pay lot nearby at the CMPC Davies Campus—the entrance is located at 45 Castro Street. Exhibit Hours Since the Photo Center is a multi-use space with limited staffing, please call ahead at (415) 554-9522 to see if the exhibit space is open for viewing. Studio Rentals Members can rent studio space please call (415) 554-9522 for more information.