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A one of a kind historical view of community from the perspective of a woman photographer. These photos tell a story of people from all walks of life who came together on the waters of Sausalito and created a community like no other.

  • 9x12, hardcover, 224 pages
  • More than 180 imagees by Catherine Lyons-Labate.
  • Includes the history, the challenges and stories written by members of the community.
Mail check or money order of $70 (includes shipping) to:

Catherine Lyons-Labate
P.O. Box 1941
Sausalito CA 94966

Please include your shipping address!


Bay Model
Sausalito, CA
February 15th - March 26th

Special Book Signing Reception
Saturday March 5th * 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Reviews from local media

An Infusion of Memory and Love by historian, art critic, and author Candra Day Notes on experiencing Sausalito once upon a waterfront by Catherine Lyons- Labate

A beautiful book of photography, anecdotes and historical notes has just been released by Sausalito photographer Catherine Lyons-Labate, collecting images that she made between 1983 and 2005 of the Sausalito houseboat community. It is a book that captures the soul of a place and, in this case, the place is a rare kind of community and a singular moment in time. The geographic scope of this monograph is the Sausalito waterfront, extending from Yellow Ferry harbor to the north to Galilee Harbor to the south. Each harbor along this stretch of shoreline has its own distinct character. Catherine lived at Gate 6 during this period so the accent of the book is on that neighborhood, but the waterfront as a whole is evoked. To the south beyond this strip of mudflats and water lies the tourist town and wealthy homes of Sausalito proper, another world.

One of my favorite photographs in the book is the portrait of the artist, "Woman Warrior Weds Work" (1986, page viii). The photo shows Catherine in warpaint, dressed in a disarrayed wedding ensemble and holding a spear in one hand and flowers in the other, in the act of marrying her enlarger. It expresses so much about the photographer - her humor, her dedication, her warrior determination and toughness.

Catherine's point of view is a feminine eye. She includes many photos of children, women and family portraits. Her point of view is also close-up. It is further enhanced by the superb narrative quality of the black-and-white photography and Catherine's sure sense of composition.

This book is as a document portraying something that is precious and disappearing. As Catherine mentions in her introduction, her project of documentation began with the eminent destruction of the old ferries that were pulled up on the mudflats at Gate 6: the Charles Van Damme ferryboat and the Issaquah ferry, home to Catherine and her family. Leafing slowly through this remarkable book, and thinking back to the waterfront that once was, I wonder about what is lost and what's been saved. What Catherine's book demonstrates is how art, passionately felt and skillfully produced, can transform memory, which fades and disappears, into a rescue that lasts.

Art critic John Berger has said, "I can't tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that often art has judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent, and shown to the future what the past suffered, so that it has never been forgotten. Art, when it functions like this, becomes a meeting-place of the invisible, irreducible, the enduring, guts, and honor." The Woman Warrior hits the mark.

The Water Wars

Sausalito history: Once Upon a Waterfront