Using a Ricoh GRD III and a Nikon DSLR to photograph streets, people, architecture and anything else that catches my eye.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Battlesbridge Market

One place I have always enjoyed visiting is a market.  I was brought up in a market town, and even as a child I enjoyed the sights and sounds of the market place.  Fruit & veg, meat and fish, tacky cheap fashions, bargain footware, possibly dodgy electrical goods, terrible toys...   just to think of a few.  This was a typical large town market in the 1970s.  I think nowadays, markets have changed to survive. Many markets offer a different experience for the public, selling the things that Sainsburys and Tescos wouldn't even consider.  We now have many speciality markets in most cities and towns.  I think these fall into the three main catagories:

Antique and collectable Markets, including crafts and hand made goods.   These are my favourite kind of market. I can wander around one of these for hours, rummaging through old books and records, old tat, and brik-a-brak.  Unlike most of my friends and peers, I have a real love of 'old stuff'.  I don't mean necessarily antiques of any value or worth; I am talking about the everyday things that people had around their houses throughout the last century.  Books, records, toys, (old cameras!), tools, pictures, lamps, radios...  etc.    I just love the look and feel of old gear!   I also have a real interest in 1970s technology...  early hi-fi, instruments, totally redundent electronic machinery, early computers,  and of course old cameras.   This digital age we live in really has no soul or character in any of its components.  We live in a throw away consumer society, and people constantly need the latest gadget.  But the old stuff is just wonderful (even if it doesn't work).  The biggest example of this is a new smart phone, which does everything except mow the lawn, compared to an old 1970s black household telephone, which had just one purpous, but still was one of the most important objects in any home.  Beautifully designed by hand, and lovely to hold in the hand.  I guess I am a luddite and will always have one foot in the past.

Food Markets. What can I say about these amazing places that any of you don't already know. Possibly the most exciting markets in any city in any country. To walk around and take in the sounds, colours and smells of so many different foods.  Obviously fruit and veg is the base of all markets, followed by the meat and fish. I am getting hungry as I write this.....     How many different cheeses can you find?  Snacks, sweets, drinks, savoury dishes, asian food hot from the counter...   spices, herbs...    jams, preserves...  pickles...   I could go on forever. Food markets are amazing places to try things you have never heard of before, and great places to just wander around with your camera.  The most famous in London is Borough Market,  but there are many others across the city which are not so famous.  It is best to see these places start up early in the morning, especially while sipping a hot coffee and a bacon sandwich!

Fashion Markets.  My knowledge of fashion is somewhat limited.  Although in my rebellious teens and early twenties, I used to frequent Camden Market, and other such places, picking up cool things to wear....   the things that your high street never sold.  Second-hand was very cool in those days; all of us wearing 1950s and 60s style gear...  with our hair quiffed or punked up..   Most of the items were one-offs..  individual...   and very cheap.  Things seemed to change in the mid eighties, when most of the youth needed to be seen in expensive labelled brands from particular designers and styles. In my opinion, the world became very materialistic, and eventually quite boring in their fashion sense.  No sense of rebellion anymore.  I recently went to Camden Market though, and it has tripled in size since I last went twenty five years ago. I am quite happy to say that it is still one of the busiest and vibrant places in London; full of students, trendies, hippies, goths, soul boys, tourists and many interesting individuals...   all spending their cash on market led fashions and styles.  There is hope.

So..  finally onto my pictures.   These are all of a very quiet and pleasant antique market in Battlesbridge, Essex. I took these with my Nikon D80, with a 50mm prime lens.  Apart from the above black and white image of the antique centre bulding, which was using a nice wide 10-20mm zoom.  I like to use a 50mm prime lens, as it forces you to work harder to get the shots.  In these shots, I deliberately kept it free from people, as I wanted to concentrate on the brik-a-brak itself.    So, just check out all this old junk....

I have visited Battlesbridge more recently, using my latest camera.  I will post thise another time.  I never get bored with photography in markets.


Michael Gatton said...

These are really nice, Bill. You manage to capture the clutter of the market without the image itself being cluttered. And the black & white is just beautiful.

Bill Wellham said...

Thanks Mike. I did take many many shots that day, I was trying to make the junk itself the main subject. I tried to compose groups of items so that there was no particular object as the main subject. Just a scattering of images really. This is kind of how I see things sometimes... I have difficulty in concentrating on something in particular, with my focus flying around.

Anonymous said...

I love the colours in these. And some don't look as though they were in a market at all but perhaps in a store room or shed. I like the one with the yellow lanterns, tin bath and painted wood. I also like the one with the tyre pressure guage. They could almost have been taken in another era.