Down in the Market on a Saturday Morning

A market stall, shoppers and stallholder, with the stall loaded with fresh fruit and vegetables.

A small local farmers’ market in Lublin, Poland

This is one of my favorite places in Lublin, where we often go to buy our fresh fruit and vegetables. We used to go more often, but first Ania’s job moved away from the area, then we found a new flat less convenient for shopping there – and yet it still retains its charm for us.

These days we have to drive their, so we normally pop in if we happen top be driving past. Most of the people who shop there tend to be older rather than younger, and more likely to walk there from their apartments nearby. The stallholder used to be mainly farmers, but there has been a shift more to market people buying goods from farms, or farmers mixing homegrown and bought produce.

There are also some other shops there. When I first started going in the mid-1990s these were a standard mix of planned Socialist era shops, such as the plastics goods shop, the metal goods shop, fish shop and the like. Since then some of these have died (like the plastic goods shop) due to the other shops diversifying into their areas.

The original idea for the market when it was created in the late 1960s was to be a small mall of shops with broad ways between them and a small market stall area. Instead, the passages have become choked with stalls selling produce on either side, the shops role is secondary, and the proper stall area has become an area for cheap handbags and clothes.

In the small gaps and corners between the stalls you still see some very old ladies who bring in something like a small bag of peas, some eggs, or a plucked chicken to sell to eke out their pension.

On a rainy day there may be few stalls, on a warm sunny day you might struggle to get through the crowds. We love it!

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The Three Priests

Lublin 04 Priests 2 small

At the moment I am working on a series of images concerning tradition and the local community here in Lublin, hopefully so that they go into an exhibition I have yet to organize for the ‘Lublin Night of Culture’. I have had two such exhibitions before and they were relatively successful. It is a good, fun event anyway, with lots of people and many, many things to see.

The problem, as usual, is finding enough ideas to make around 25 images, and then get them all up to a standard where they will print large. It is so easy to get distracted, and work on other stuff. I know I have some suitable images already finished, such as the one above, but I need to dig through my last 18 months of output to see how many others I have also done, do the math and see how many more I have yet to do. Since it takes about a week to do each, discovering I need another 15 would mean a major amount of work…

Anyway, this image was a bit of a challenge as I wanted the background to be soft, which meant experimenting with technique. I am not sure that I have quite got it down pat yet, but I think I can live with it and I have some ideas on how to improve. The reason I wanted the soft look was to replicate the kind of image one so often associates with traditional European religious art, and then combine it with my ideas about the use of abstract colour blocks. The actual composition was also a bit tricky as I had 4 elements in the foreground which had to be positioned to emphasize the meaning and yet look balanced. Hopefully I succeeded there too.

Combine Harvester

Combine Harvester

One of the things I love about the countryside in late summer is watching the crops being brought in. I can still feel the same excitement I did when I was 5 years old and the seemingly huge, red combine cut the corn in the field behind our house, or discharged the crop into blue trailers being towed alongside the combine by tractors.

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