Fish in the City

Last week I was in New York for a few days staying on the Lower East Side. The weather was quite unsettled – muggy and rainy.  One grey morning I saw a guy walking towards me in sandals and socks. These were not the frowned-upon socks and sandals combination formerly attributed to unstylish men with no interest in fashion. He had neon hair, the shade of a yellow highlighter pen and carried a fuchsia-coloured silk bag. His feet were tucked into bright goldfish complete with realistic eyes. I asked whether I could photograph his footwear and he obliged:


The sight of quasi-realistic fish on an urban pavement had a surreal quality. I had a sense of déja-vu; ten years ago I’d photographed a random fish found on a Tel Aviv pavement.  This still life was literally a nature morte:

I’m back in London now and after a sultry weekend the weather has been very thundery and rainy. I took this yesterday in Camden. Although there are no visible fish I like the surreal illusion of a river flowing between the pavements. Needless to say I had to find another means of crossing the road:

I tried to think back on any other images of urban fish I had in my collection. The photo below was taken in a trendy cafe in Kyoto, Japan back in 2006:

And a traditional sushi and sashimi bar in Osaka in 2015 – the back wall displays the menu via a series of ink paintings of fish and Japanese calligraphy:

And here’s a street abstract taken in London’s Soho which I call Red and Green at Bar Italia. The woman on the left is wearing a dress with a koi carp print; the fish under glass in an urban setting:

Below is a still life composition I took at a Persian restaurant in London during the Iranian New Year of Nowruz. The goldfish symbolise new life. There’s a great Iranian film by Jafar Panahi called The White Balloon (1995) where a young girl is determined to buy a nice fat goldfish for the new year but loses her money:

I looked up the word fish in my photo catalogue to see if it came up as a keyword; funnily enough there was a photograph under fishnet. This was a vintage image I had scanned featuring my Aunt Pauline looking very glamorous in fishnet gloves, standing beside her husband, my late uncle, Matt Aminoff:


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.