A nondescript warehouse. A door guarded by a single, lonely buzzer. No other visual acknowledgments to hint that, between the walls of the building at Pier 24 in San Francisco, lies one of the largest private collections, square footage wise, of photographic art in The United States. A visit makes one feel like he or she has stumbled upon a great secret. It is quiet and reverent within, the lighting creating the silent wish that the soft and perfect glow of each room could be transported back home. No more than twenty people at a time can reserve a space to visit, claiming a two hour time spot through a website booking system. The charge: Free. Some of the most amazing representations of beauty in this world can be witnessed without cost; the waves crashing against the rocky Malibu shoreline or hiking up Griffith Park and watching as the sun sets over a rare clear Los Angeles day, but rarely do these moments not include crowds or distractions. At Pier 24, there are no distractions, not even in the form of descriptions on the walls to tell visitors what it is that exists within that space, but viewers carry with them a hardcover book that explains in short detail the story behind the visuals. Docents wander through the atmospheric calm, kindly answering questions. The photos transport to eras past, a quote on one wall stating that, “It is through the lives of others that we live our own.”

For more information on Pier 24 click here.