Photographing My Backyard Market

Wherever I travel I often find myself photographing local markets. I find a great amount of life and energy in markets and I think that’s the main reason I’m drawn to them. The high energy mixed with the variety of people/personalities and colors usually makes local markets a must place for me to photograph when in a new location. Aside from being good photographic locations, I love trying new foods, smelling new smells (and not all are pleasant), and enjoy watching the daily life of people all around me. It still amazes me that to many people these markets are their way of life. This is what they do day in and day out, whether it be selling vegetables or gutting fish. It still humbles me.

I live on Mactan Island across a large channel from Cebu City in the Philippines. I regularly go into Cebu City’s Carbon Market which is a very large wet and dry market to shoot. It seems whenever I want to photograph a market here in Cebu by default I head over to Carbon. This week I decided to try something different because of my work schedule.

The past two weeks I have been spending a lot of time on the computer working from home. I am preparing for an upcoming trip to Mindanao and with the recent launch of my new website I have been putting a lot of time in on the computer. Two days ago I hit my breaking point and had to get out the door away from the computer screen. Instead of taking the ferry boat across the channel to Cebu’s Carbon Market, I decided to walk around my local market here in Lapu-Lapu City. Lapu-Lapu’s market is only a five minute walk from my place, but I have never spent a good amount of time exploring it. I’m happy I decided to try something new and stay local this time. I was amazed by how many people knew of me (because I do pass by these streets almost daily) and I never knew how large the seafood section of the market was here Lapu-Lapu. I spent my time talking with people and tried to focus my shooting on portraits versus market food which I sometimes go out to photograph as well.

If all goes to plan I will be leaving for a trip to Mindanao in a weeks time. I’m currently planning on starting in Surigao del Norte and making my way south to Davao, General Santos and South Cotabato. I have been to northern Mindanao many times, but never as far south as Davao or General Santos. I am excited to meet with some indigenous groups during my trip and I will be photographing a newly established marine sanctuary in General Santos. I plan to be in touch during my trip and I hope to get another post in before leaving. Until then…

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Tagged: cebu, documentary, images, lapu-lapu, market, philippines, photography, photos, pictures, portraits, Travel,
Posted on: Jun 4, 2010


  • ninong rex

    hey, jake, nice pictures here. makes me homesick. mingaw ko sa mga isda 🙁
    i don't think going to south cotabato is a good idea. no travel advisory ?

  • Hi Ninong. Yeah, there is a very large fish section here in Lapu-Lapu and every kind of fish is being sold. I saw for the first time parrot fish about 1-2 inches long. I'm not even sure how you would eat those. Lot's of fresh fish though. I'll only be going to Lake Sebu in South Cotabato which is closer to General Santos. I will hopefully have guides from the Dept of Ag. and BFAR going with me, so there shouldn't be any problems.

  • You have great images here! For sure, you'll discover more striking images to shoot when you finally visit Soccsksargen.

    See you in GenSan!

  • wangho

    great pics! cant wait to see the results of the mindanao shoot, esp. lake sebu!

  • LOLONG

    just inform me whenever you'll be in Davao. I might be here and will accompany you if ever. 09175975111. LOLONG

  • Bill

    You may want to check out the new amusement park, the only one in Mindanao. I traveled as far south as Valencia. If you have time meet Mayor Catarara. Also, Lake Apo is the most beautiful place! And, don't miss Tinago Falls South of Iligan, near Suarez!

  • Bill

    You may want to check out the new amusement park, the only one in Mindanao. I traveled as far south as Valencia. If you have time meet Mayor Catarara. Also, Lake Apo is the most beautiful place! And, don't miss Tinago Falls South of Iligan, near Suarez!

  • Thanks Bill for the suggestions. Lake Apo looks really tempting and if time permits I will have to sidetrack and make my way there. If not this time, my next trip for sure. I'll plan to post some pictures during my travels. I leave this coming Saturday!

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