Side Projects: #instahaight


I could do a full year of “buena vistas” in Buena Vista Park.

How well do you know your neighborhood?  What is its landscape? Who are its people? Where are its hidden gems? Nine months ago I dedicated myself to knowing mine better and today I want to share with you more about that experience.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned since moving to San Francisco is to always have a side project. It’s the mantra of the creative people I meet through events like TYPO San Francisco, as well as something that keeps this magical place moving forward.

I’m always starting side projects, but am always getting distracted as well. I suppose you could argue that lifestyle changes like integrating running and yoga into my weekly routine are side projects, but not creative ones. But I digress. This year I started, and seem to have continued a somewhat creative side project that is keeping me engaged almost daily.  Since I’ve actually got a decent body of work going on, I thought I’d share with you.


Inspired by PolaroidSF I’ve been noticing misspelled (or cut off) streets. Ick Street!

The #instahaight project (link to my profile since their site doesn’t support hashtag linking) came out of a desire to focus, so perhaps that is why I’ve been personally successful with it. I am certainly not the first person to use Instagram for a side project, but I may be the only person consistently documenting *my* neighborhood, San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury in 2013.

Committing to a year (and it could end up being more), I felt this would be a better way for me to get to know and love my once-hip, now touristy, but still lived-in neighborhood. It’s been fun scouring its nooks and crannies on my runs, walks with our dogs, trips to the grocery store. Sometimes I catch something ephemeral and unexpected, other times landmarks defining the area for decades. Most importantly, this project encourages me to slow down and pay attention. I notice when new street art pops up, businesses open or close, when sidewalk gardens get destroyed. I’ve noticed my neighbors and actually talked to some of them. I learned that the dog always wearing a new pair of glasses and a sweatshirt is named Backup. I had my hand kissed by a homeless kid named Andy at 8 in the morning. Another homeless man advised me to bleach our Bichon Frise  with peroxide so he wouldn’t get dirty in the park (I think we’ll skip that one). I still haven’t talked to Hobo Roger Sterling though (or taken his picture).

Next week I’ll be off the grid at my first Burning Man, but #instahaight will be back in September. In the meantime, I’d love for you to let me know spots you think I should document for the next three months of the project. Leave your comments below!


Mosaics and architectural details are abundant in my hood.


I relish stumbling upon moments like these. Monsters need love and takeout too.


One of the iconic shots in The Haight. I’m sure I’ll get another angle before the year’s out.


This new (?) street artist has kept me busy finding his/her chalk drawings.


Many may complain about the vagrants, but I accept them as part of our neighborhood character.


Bummed to have missed The Haight Street Fair this year, but try to capture most major events (like The SF Marathon) that go through the neighborhood.


About Meghan A.

creative & professional creative professional | communications, content & community | nasty woman | adventurer & inspiration seeker | bicyclist & feminist | walk san francisco board | current: Adobe Typekit Product Marketing Manager, former: TYPO SF magic maker
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