In 2016 I began photographing the carp population of Spreckle’s Lake- a large manmade lake in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Truthfully I never really liked Spreckle’s Lake too much. It is a large lake surrounded by and encased in concrete, and it is very dirty. There is often trash and algae-like slime and debris floating along its edges. It is where people sail their model boats. It is an expansive lake, meaning it is most often a vortex of wind on a clear day, and being right off of Fulton street only adds to the noise. Whether people are zooming their electric speedboats around or the seagulls are cawing incessantly in a feeding frenzy, there is hardly ever a dull moment.
It wasn’t until I discovered the population of large carp that I began to appreciate and understand the chaos of this place. As soon as I first spotted them, on that sunny day in June, I was transfixed by their fluid movements beneath the murky surface of the water. The lake water is practically opaque, and so the fish have to come up to the very tip top of the surface to be seen. It’s something you would definitely miss if you weren’t looking. The mystery of their existence continues to fascinate me. They feel like a special treat that only the people who look can see. Everyone who knows them prides themselves on that fact- that they are something not everyone sees. They are a wonderful secret to be shared. Just, how odd- giant monstrous fish in this city lake. And yet they are so elegant, graceful, mysterious. Their environment lends them to mysticism.
These fish are my greatest fascination, and they have become my greatest joy. These photos are an homage to the beauty and form of the natural world that exists even in our manmade spaces, our concrete expanses, our dirty city lakes.