Gallery 291

When photographer Ed Carey decided to open a photo gallery at 291 Geary Street in San Francisco several years ago, it seemed prophetic and only appropriate that the gallery be named Gallery 291 – a homage to the legendary photographer Alfred Stieglitz who, in 1905, created another Gallery 291 at 291 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The famed gallery was a showcase for avant-gard photography and art of the time (Matisse, Rodin and Picasso).

The Union Square location proved to be a bit overwhelming so Carey closed the gallery and took a two year hiatus. A year ago, much to his fans delight, he re-opened Gallery 291 at 401 Miller in Mill Valley. This time, it seemed only logical that the gallery share space with The Image Flow, a high-end digital print shop that also offers classes and workshops in photography. The spacious, unassuming site off of Miller is a hidden gem that lends itself to both enterprises.

Gallery 291 offers fine art photography by some of the world’s leading photographers, including Brigette Carnochan who is reknown for her platinum/palladium botanicals (her peonies and roses are exquisite), Brian Taylor, Michael Garlington and Deborah Harmon — to name just a few. The gallery however, is far more than a showcase for curated photography; it is just as much a social haven for local artists, photographers and aficionados.

There are opening receptions for the artists, lively dinners on site with the photographers, and “artist talks” – all opportunities to meet and greet the well-known photographers and learn about their innovative techniques and alternative processes. Conveniently, Jacqueline Schwartz operates RSVP Catering on-site as well, so the events are a feast for all senses with great food and wine as well. These special events are always provocative gatherings with creativity seemingly running rampant.

Tonight at 7 p.m. the gallery will host an open conversation with conceptual underwater photographer Mallory Morrison. Mallory will discuss her current exhibit on display at the gallery (through August 5), and how she transitioned from a dance photographer to an underwater, fashion photographer, new processes and concepts. Her work is in fact a magnificent, weightless, underwater ballet of movement and composition.

If you can’t make the event this week, Gallery 291 is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The next opening reception and party is August 23rd for photographer Dan Estabrook who is best known for his salt-printing technique.