A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about food

Markets

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Another of my favourite subjects for photography is a local market – the more colourful and livelier the better. There are two main attractions for me as a photographer – the variety of often unfamiliar produce on display, and the local people who shop or sell in these markets. I will feature ‘People’ as a theme in a later blog entry for sure, but some are certain to find their way into these market photos too!

Some of the best markets I have visited have been in Africa.

Senegal

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Every Wednesday there is a large market in the village of Ngueniene, which draws people from miles around - to buy or to sell, but also, it seemed to me, to meet and gossip. A visit here is a popular outing for tourists, but still they are hugely outnumbered by the locals and it is a totally authentic experience. In fact there are two markets - one for animals and one for everything else - and I mean everything!

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In the general market, Ngueniene

You have to be a little discreet if you want to get photos of the locals here. Most people don't mind you photographing the goods on sale, and some of the men were happy to be in my photos, but on the whole the women preferred not to be photographed. If they asked me not to, I put the camera down, but I have to admit to shooting a few of these pictures "from the hip"!

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There were exceptions to the 'no photo' rule, as you can see

After spending some time in the main market we moved on to the animal market on the other side of the village, travelling between the two on a traditional horse cart. Here there is a much narrower range of goods on offer – goats, sheep, cows, donkeys and horses. Until very recently, our guide told us, all business was done here by exchange - two goats for one sheep, five sheep for one cow and so on. Nowadays people are more likely to use cash, but some trading still goes on.

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The animal market

While the men we saw were obviously here to sell, it also seemed to me to be a great excuse for them to catch up with friends as there was a lot of standing around chatting going on. I found that they were more relaxed and generally seemed less bothered by my camera than in the busy main market.

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Animal traders, Ngueniene

Gambia

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Serekunda market

Serekunda Market is the largest in The Gambia – a mad melee of sellers, shoppers and a few tourists that pack the streets of this small town every day.

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The market takes place all day and every day. Few Gambian homes have freezers, and with frequent power cuts the fridge cannot be relied on to keep food fresh, so the women (and it is still always the women) shop daily for fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, fish etc. The place was so packed it was hard to make progress at times, especially with the occasional car or bush taxi trying to squeeze through the crowds and the many porters with their wheelbarrows (all licensed by the government, with "number plates" to prove it).

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Tomatoes, palm oil and okra among the goods on sale

Marrakesh

The souks of Marrakesh are perhaps the most photographed markets of all. Unlike in sub-Saharan Africa, I’ve found it much harder here to include local people in my photos as they are really not happy to see a tourist camera pointed in their direction, but if you’re discreet then it can be done:

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In the Northern Medina

North of the Djemaa el-Fna the narrow souks weave and intersect in the most confusing (to the visitor) of manners. Locals outnumber tourists here, even though this is the Marrakesh that everyone comes to see. Donkey carts and mopeds add to the confusion and at times it is difficult to even find the space in which to stand and take a photo! The goods on display are so distinctive and vividly coloured that they form my favourite subject-matter here:

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In Latin American countries too we have been to some wonderful markets. Here is a selection of photos from that part of the world:

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Market day in Petzun, Guatemala

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Bananas for sale, Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala

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Bananas sellers, Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala

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Pisac market stall, Peru

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Pisac, Peru

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Mercado Central, Santiago, Chile

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Roast pig, Otavalo Market, Ecuador

But you don’t have to leave Europe to find colourful markets. Let me finish with a selection of images from several European cities:

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In Riga's Central Market

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Local market in Tallinn

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In Sibiu's produce market

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Melons for sale in Bologna's Mercato delle Erbe

If you've enjoyed this page you'll find lots more of my market photos in my blog entries about Jaipur, Otavalo, Pujili and Munnar, among others.

Posted by ToonSarah 06:38 Tagged people food india peru market bologna fruit chile guatemala romania morocco photography riga vegetables tallinn ecuador marrakesh gambia senegal Comments (8)

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