R.I.P. Brian

Brian Peterson studio door in the Hungerford Building
Brian Peterson studio door in the Hungerford Building

Brian lived in a big house on Alexander Street just a few doors down from where I lived when I was born. My parents place was just an apartment on the second floor and as my father used to tell it, my crib was in the hallway. Brian filled his house with books and art and eventually he rented a studio in the Hungerford Building to work on and display his assemblages.

We first met him at an early Macintosh users group meeting at East High. He was giving a presentation of how he used the photo software to display his digital photos, all commonplace now but this was Macintosh II days. Peggi and I were knocked out by his photos. We talked to him after the show and became lifelong friends. Sadly, his life ended but he was a Buddhist so he is not really dead.

A memorial was held for him in Record Archive’s back room last night and we met his daughter, Rae, who we found capable of carrying Brian’s spirit forward. Dick Storms was there and told us he first met Brian in 1965 at Kodak. Brian had all sorts of jobs. He was a garbage collector for the city and then a city inspector so of course he knew everybody. Some called him Charlie, others called him Brian.

His job included photographing code violations and he said that influenced how he saw the world. Before social media he sent a photo a day to anyone who asked to be on his mailing list.

Brian grew up in the Bay Area and met Dennis Hopper and Dean Stockwell. He gave us a Ferlinghetti book of poetry. He took still photos on an 8mm movie camera and his son put a few of them online.

Brian Peterson 2007
Brian Peterson 2007
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