For some time now, there has been the term, “TrendyLoin” tossed around to encompass the feeling that the Loin is being gentrified. Obviously it’s a legitimate fear/desire as this has happened to many an old San Francisco neighborhood. While it’s true that the Loin is changing a great deal these days, the one thing that sets it apart from all other areas be-Starbucked are the Single Room Occupancy hotels or just SROs for short. These hotels use to be the basis for San Francisco’s working class and presently are a great deal of the safety net that stops a lot of people from being on the street as they can be rented short term in an affordable manner.

It’s the case that the debate as to whether these are good or bad looms large over any discussion of all things Loin, but whatever the case, they are in the here and now, creating a good chunk of the atmosphere surrounding the Loin.

Photo by Up form the Deep

So we come to Up from the Deep. This is the work of a Mark Ellinger who found himself addicted, on the streets, and nearly dead before he turned his life around, partly through the therapy of documenting the SROs that surrounded him. So, no, this isn’t some art student attempting to touch the ucky mucky realness of life with a telephoto lens. This is a guy who has been there and has created a work that is extremely honest and learned over time.

He focuses on several places in the downtown area where SROs are quite common, but naturally given this blog, we admire the shots in the Tenderloin the most as we’re unabashedly biased. It also helps that we can see a good number of these buildings from our windows. Take a look at what he’s doing. Loin in art form, is always a good thing.