Veteran San Francisco photographer Gerald Ratto will exhibit his rarely seen collection of photographs, Children of the Fillmore, 1952, which he captured with his Rolleiflex camera while a student at California School of Fine Arts (now known as the San Francisco Art Institute). The photography program was founded by Ansel Adams in 1945.

Rotto's images capture the fondness he had for the neighborhood:

The area was rich in color and I spent many days there wandering around and getting to know people. The people were wonderful and didn’t have attitudes. The area was not dangerous, and it was not gentrified. It was real. People believed me when I said my only motive was to take pictures. That’s why the pictures are so good. People were just themselves, and we were having a good time together.

In the Ansel Adams photography program, Ratto was lucky enough to learn invaluable creative and professional skills from prominent instructors, such as Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston and other important photographers from California’s golden age.

There will be a reception and gallery talk with Ratto this Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Robert Tat Gallery. The exhibition runs now through January 30, 2010.