Markets

Markets, of all kinds, are among my favourite photographic locations.  They provide so many opportunities for a wide-range of subjects – people-shots, portraits, candid, abstract, architecture, documentary and so on.  It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, a market, for obvious reasons, will always be fairly near and readily accessible.  They can also provide the perfect opportunity to develop your ability and style as a budding ‘street/documentary’ photographer.  Market traders, for the most part, are not shy of having a camera pointed at them and this can help to build the photographer’s confidence.  In some respects, though, photographing a market can seem a little ‘too easy’.  You can fall into the ‘point and shoot’ trap of not thinking about the image you wish to create – something we all do from time to time (and not always a bad thing !).  I find it helps, particularly in developing a personal style, to be consciously selective in the shots you take. Market images can work well in either colour (more easily capturing their vibrance and dynamism) or B&W (which gives that timeless ‘documentary’ feel) – so try both.

Having recently visited and photographed markets in Bristol and Tynemouth (both in the UK) I have attached a few images to give a flavour of my approach.  I hope you like them.

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Cafe – Bristol Indoor Market
The use of colour more effectively portrays the vibrance of the small cafe. On a ‘documentary’ level, just imagine how the chalk-board price-list may look to someone in, say, fifty years?

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Cheesemaker – Bristol Farmers Market
The obvious pride of this trader is what attracted me to take this photograph – in particular, his wide smile and the rosette he proudly displays.

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The mustachioed gent
This is Alex who I saw, in Tynemouth Market, sporting his wonderful waxed moustache. In order to get a close-up portrait, I asked him if he minded if I took his photograph and as you can see, he was happy to oblige. Thank you Alex.

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Eccentricity
Markets often attract colourful, eccentric characters. This Tynemouth market-trader was, I feel, best captured in colour.

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Hammer & Sickle
Another Tynemouth market-trader – Graham – who didn’t mind me getting in close. While the image was suited to B&W, I couldn’t resist leaving the hat badge in colour (OK – I know it’s twee but I like it !)

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Two heads ….
Markets offer plenty of scope for quirky images.

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Bygone days
The wide-range of goods sold at markets can include those that conjure-up nostalgia. I loved the battered sandwich tin and worn football boots.

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Telephones
I am often drawn to the eclectica which can usually be found at markets. The goods can make interesting subjects for the documentary photographer.

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Guitars
There’s not just ‘tat’ sold in markets. This stall had expensive guitars on sale including a Gibson priced at just under £2,500.

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