Santa Cruz de la Sierra: Markets

Crowded, chaotic, anarcy, action, trading, food, smells, clothes, spices, people, shouting, more people, people everywhere. And in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia and in the biggest market I have ever witnessed, you can add this to the list: tropic humidity, 36c degrees heat, scooters, TVs, speakers, cars, motorbikes, pirated DVDs, shoes, perfume, soap, Christmas decorations, anything and everything, fried chickens, live chickens from a place called Pollo Batman and many many thousands of people including a few mennonites and one gringo, yours truly. I am big fan of markets, especially in Asia and South America. I love the chaos, the people, the food, the smells, the anarchy, there appears to be no rules but it all works. How exactly do they get this unbelievable amount of stuff to and from the street stalls each day?

Trying to make visual sense of any of this can be almost impossible but it is much fun. Apart from the mennonites, I am at least a foot taller than anyone else here. Heck, I’m even taller than the booths and whoever invented those ugly coloured plastic market tents are pure evil. Not good for photography. But it’s fun to shoot markets. I stalk the mennonites as they stick out as I do and provide some interesting contrast. Plenty people stop me and want to buy my Fuji X100. No amigo, I need my precious. This market is maybe 12-15 city blocks. Maybe it never ends. It is daunting in size. I walk and walk and get halfway lost and shoot and get stared it a lot and shoot some more, and walk some more, people duck my camera, no one likes the camera here, if I get just one image I like from today I am fine. Keep walking, keep shooting, so much crazyness going on, I like crazyness, fit right in. Always carry the camera, snap, move, think fast, try not to step on a chicken. The markets of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

13 comments on “Santa Cruz de la Sierra: Markets

  1. what a fantastic shot ! I love the three women with matching hats. You can really feel the hustle and bustle of the market . Can`t see any stray chickens though!
    If your a foot taller than anyone else it must be hard to get a candid shot ………arent people always staring at the camera ! (AND YOU?!)

    So a Fuji x100 is your camera of choice …………..I shall have to check that out (trying to learn about camers at the moment!)

    • Thanks Alison, I am about 184cm – normal in Scandinavia, but most places in the world I am a lot taller than the crowd. Candid shots take a lot of ninja work, I cause moments so I often end up photographing the moments I cause.
      As for staring, I practically cause traffic accidents, tall alien from outer space landed in our town, come look! Can be fun, some days it’s a bit much.

      I am now using both the Fuji X100 and Fuji Xpro1 – love them both for street and documentary work.

  2. This is one of the handful of your South America photos that makes me laugh whenever I look at it. I swear the perspective makes it look as though you’re double the height of everyone in the frame, Mennonites and all.

    Great photo though, I totally appreciate the era gap between the Mennonites and everyone else at the market. TARDIS getting faulty or were you just being a temporal prankster?

    • The mennonite guy at the back is my height, everyone else is indeed at least a foot lower than me! Sitting on my knees I am still taller than most women in those parts hehe. I don’t understand the last bit about temporal prankster? My brain is busy fighting agents :)

      • Messing around with people’s minds by chucking them into alternate dimensions in alternate time.

        (I have been watching Star Trek. Can’t help myself)

        You totally p0wn those agents dude, in their infinite variety. Hahahahahahah *still amused*

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