Pedro Lange-Churion

Golden Gate Park 150th Anniversary Exhibit

When invited to photograph the Golden Gate Park for a collective exhibit celebrating its 150th anniversary, I was drawn to shoot the park at night, emptied of both, people and the uses they make of it. I focused on the Bandshell in the Music Concourse. The Bandshell’s entablature, for instance, battered as it is, suggests like ruins the passage of time. The slightly moving stars dotting the sky behind the building do so as well.  

The solid ionic columns convey a sense of permanence amid the many changes the park has faced since its creation; they seem a fitting motif to celebrate the park’s endurance. And although we associate parks with the natural environment, the Golden Gate Park’s trees and landscapes, ponds and open fields are as much an instance of the constructed environment as the buildings in it. John McLaren had to plant bent grass seeds brought from France to tame the dunes and finally plant the thousands of trees we see.  

The starkness of Paul Strand’s architectural photography and the ethereality of Sally Mann’s work were an inspiration. I have attempted to convey with a sense of mystery the Bandshell, still standing and unperturbed.