29 Jan 2017

Photoproject: 100 visits to Seri Huamark Market (days 51-60)

After completing the first half of my project and passing the 50-days mark, I made my first comprehensive revision of the work up until that point, and this was a perfect opportunity to see the whole project with more perspective, since before it had always been a day-to-day, piece-by-piece topic. This general, holistic approach let me see patterns and evolutions under a different light, and it also gave me more insight into my own process. Besides, since I had been shooting with a telephoto zoom for the last days, I decided to go back to the wider PanaLeica 15mm for the next 10 days, as that was the lens I used to kickstart the project and this felt like a second beginning.

Day 51, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 51b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 51c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
I have been at the market almost daily for around 2 months now, so I'm able to evaluate some of the cons and pros that have developed throughout this time. Starting with the negatives: with familiarity some people has started crossing the line and has started asking me for things in a casual but direct way, such as my watch, which I wear only when I go there straight from work. Politely and always with a smile, I brought the conversation to other topics and ignored those indirect requests as well as I could.

Day 52, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 52b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
In addition, not everyone has become more friendly over time, since some vendors that were curious towards me at first have grown a bit unfriendly after seeing me there everyday, annoyed at my presence  and my strolls throughout their premises, which I guess is inevitable; in instances like that, I just try to avoid them and be as discreet and invisible as possible when walking near them but I don't let that come in my way, either; I continue shooting as usual but being more cautious and unobtrusive with them.

Day 53, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 53b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 53c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
The positives, however, outnumber the negatives by a quite some margin: bonds with some of the vendors have grown and they have began to invite me to sit, talk and drink with them while they are having their meals or just gathering with other colleagues in the slow hours. Other times, some of them even brought me stools to sit when they saw me crouching down while taking pictures, and they even went as far as talking to others about me, which made other come to gather around me smiling, greeting me, even posing for me to grab their images.

Day 54, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 54b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 54c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 54d, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 54e, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
From a technical point of view, I have resorted to manual exposure more and more trying to get the correct exposure in tricky situations in which the auto metering would be unpredictable due to subjects of a different brightness moving across the scene; this way I prevented exposure changes and kept things exposed as I wanted without surprises.

Day 55, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 55b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 55c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 55d, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 55e, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 55f, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Since I have plenty of images of everywhere around the market already, that has freed me from the need to walk around to discover all its nooks and crannies every day, so lately I have been focusing on just one single scene until I nailed it or until I got what I had pre-envisioned, before moving around or walking some more through the market.

Day 56, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 56b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 56c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 56d, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 56e, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 56f, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Despite having visited the market for about 2 months already, I keep discovering things on a daily basis, as there are always new things I had not noticed before that come suddenly to my eyes, asking for some attention. This brings to mind the saying "can't see the forest for the trees", that has proven to be absolutely right in my case: when you are too concentrated checking the small things yo become blind to the big, general ones around you.

Day 57, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 57b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
One of the main leitmotif of street photography, if there is one, is "get closer", so I have been slowly but steadily practicing it and trying to get closer to people, taking portraits of vendors and customers from up close and, as a first for me, sometimes even with flash, which has been quite an interesting exercise that I have only started to scratch the surface.

Day 58, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 58b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 58c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 58d, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 58e, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
In such a short span of time I have already seen changes unfolding in the market that make some of my older images unrepeatable (a new fence built around the shrine, some new patches covering holes in the walls, mirrors removed), which has brought a whole new dimension and weight to my project, since, for once, it appears to me that it is also a way of documenting the place, its flows and changes, its evolution or stillness, and this was never amongst my goals when I started it.

Day 59, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 59b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 59c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
When a day is cloudy and the light is not good I start to feel bored in the market, and I can't seem to find interesting scenes anymore, but at the same time I don't want to skip my daily visit since it's a commitment that I made with myself, so trying to figure out a way to balance these contradictory forces I have decided to force myself to go sometimes even when the light is not optimal but allowing me some days off to avoid frustration or fatigue.

Day 60, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 60b, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 60c, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Day 60d, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
The number of images I have taken these past 10 days ranged between 21 and 154 (totaling 774) and, all in all, I only skipped 3 days, so I can firmly say that the project advances smoothly despite the usual ups and downs and I'm really looking forward to what's to come.

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