Walking a Market

Traveling Central America offers a wide range of photographic opportunities, but few offer the concentrated view of local culture that is offered by a city market. A real market is something that has been lost in the US, long ago pushed aside by supermarkets and shopping malls. A central location, filled with small shops or simply stalls, where one can buy everything they need. These markets still exist in much of the world.

Vegetable Seller
A vegetable seller poses with her merchandise

A market brings everything together in one place, the very character of the country. The people of the region, produce and tropical fruits, the goods and services of everyday life. You can spend hours in a few city blocks, wandering and shooting, a good photo around every corner and down every dim alleyway between the stalls. From vegetable stalls to cobblers and barbers plying their trades, cell phone accessories and racks of colorful shoes, everything is on sale here.

Markets are public spaces, a place where people take little notice of the camera and seldom object to being photographed, where your wanderings will draw little attention, except perhaps from peddlers hoping to make a sale.

There are markets that cater primarily to tourists, found in cities that depend on tourism. I find these tourist markets poor fare, offering nothing of the real world, devoid of decent photo opportunities. It is in the real markets away from the tourist traffic, those that cater to the local people, that you find real photos.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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