Photo Friday: Gandhi in San Francisco

San Francisco; February 2010

This is a statue of Indian statesman Mahatma Gandhi behind the San Francisco Ferry Building. From this angle it looks like he is gazing out at the reflected sunset and full moon rising over the Bay Bridge. I took this with my new digital SLR and I’m particularly pleased with the way it’s performed in low light, without a tripod or a fast lens.

Gandhi is an inspiring example of how to change the world through peaceful protest. His teachings were powerful enough to overthrow British rule in India without violence – although there were certainly other historical forces at work as well. Gandhi influenced American black civil rights leader Martin Luther King who was particularly taken with this quote: “Through our pain we will make them see their injustice”.

I’m particularly fond of statues of Gandhi for personal as well as political reasons. My husband proposed to me at the Peace Park in London, a small pocket park near Kings Cross with a statue of Gandhi seated in meditation.

Here are two more photos I took of the Gandhi statue in San Francisco, this time with the distinctive tower of the Ferry Building behind him. One of the things I like most about sculpture is when you get different things out of looking at the statue from different angles – as you do here.

The statue was a gift to the City of San Francisco in 1988 but apparently there is controversy over both the identity of the donor and the location, with some people arguing that locating it in a parking lot is an insult to his memory. I didn’t know this until after I had taken these photos, which I think actually showcase the beauty of the location! I don’t think of this place as a parking lot; I’ve never seen more than one or two cars parked in the area. On this occasion I had come down especially to watch the sunset over the bay but usually if I’m at the back of the Ferry Building, I’m shopping at Saturday Farmers’ Market. It seems to me that farmers’ markets are a perfect example of peaceful social change and a fitting tribute to the memory of Gandhi. What do you think?

From this angle, Gandhi looks like he is listening to the world

From this angle, Gandhi looks like he is waving

This post is part of Photo Friday, a weekly blogging event run by Debbie Dubrow of DeliciousBaby Journal. Please check out all the other Photo Friday submissions this week.

Related posts: Previous Photo Friday posts on Roaming Tales.

All posts on London.

All posts on San Francisco.

All posts on art.


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  1. Ghandi looks pretty happy where he is – he can always walk away if not
    .-= Heather Cowper´s last blog ..Leonardo’s bicycle at MOSI in Manchester =-.

  2. Gandhi is an inspiration. There’s a statue of him here in Canberra in Glebe Park, where soon the autumn leaves will be falling around him in his scanty clothing and high principles.

    That first photo, with the Bay Bridge and the moon rising, is lovely. I’m thinking it must have been truly spectacular a few minutes earlier, with more light on the clouds.

    I’ll be back in San Francisco late next month, coming home from Amsterdam. Must go look him up. And have a meal at the Ferry Markt with my wife.
    .-= Skyring´s last blog ..I found my heart in San Francisco =-.

  3. I past this statue the other week and thought about capturing a shot. But it was too bright in the middle of the day. I like your shots, good and contemplative. Loved the whole area around where you took your pictures, the markets and cafes etc. Wonder why the city never had it removed if the artist and statue are controversial.
    .-= Cate´s last blog ..A wedding breakfast at Sam Wo =-.

  4. How interesting (the hands)!
    .-= Jen Laceda´s last blog ..Smashing Spring Giveaway =-.

  5. It is a bit weird to be in a car park but I guess as you say it made it feel like it wasn’t a car park so thats probably a good thing!
    .-= Jeff Awesome´s last blog ..The Car Hire Scam =-.