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(March 17–20, 2005)

Joachim Nickel

Motorcycle Spring Festival

Andrew Nemeth

Sydney's Paddy's Markets Grocery Shoppers

Paddy's Markets at Haymarket, Chinatown Sydney, Australia

Friday 17th March 2005, 13pm

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© 2005 Andrew Nemeth, All Rights Reserved.

Sydney's Paddy's Markets at Haymarket

Located in a dingy basement in Sydney's Chinatown, "Paddy's Markets" are a Sydney retail institution. Decades ago it used to be the main wholesale distribution point for the city's groceries and flowers, but this changed in the 1980s when the markets were transferred to larger premises at Flemington. At the time there was talk of closing the now redundant city "Paddy's", but eventually it was kept open (Thur-Sun) as a smaller-scale tourist attraction & general retail outlet.

Scene notes

This scene was taken at Friday lunchtime the groceries section, which mainly caters to local shoppers. Everyone looks a bit blurred because I had to use a slow shutter speed (ƒ4.0 at 1/15th at 800ISO!), and most turn away from the camera due to skittishness & paranoia towards photographers (see my discussion about privacy and candid photography elsewhere). In case you're wondering, the image was taken without permission and was unposed, which Did Not Make My Life Easy.

Wigs, angst & baseball bats

I didn't realise it at the time, but a lesson from this project was that Paddy's-type markets are seriously unfriendly places to take "unauthorised" photos.

Originally I didn't intend to shoot in the grocery section at all. I was far more interested in the general-retail / tourist section (in the red-lit area behind the white columns) - in particular a stall crammed with wigs & busts on all three sides. It would have been cool shot, but unfortunately the merchants in this area were all so photo-hostile that I had to bail out. I would show up with my VR rig, introduce myself, talk a bit about the WWP project, and then people would wave their hands, cover their faces and yell: "No Photos! Copyright! NO PHOTOS! LEAVE!!"

At first I didn't understand it - why was everyone so touchy? - but a few days later I found out that many stall holders deal in stolen or bootleg goods. Then there are sellers who have criminal records, or are illegal immigrants, or are tax evading "Black Economists". Add it all together and it's hardly the kind of place where people enjoy having their picture taken, right? On top of that, these places often get raided by cam-corder wielding plain-clothes police. So whenever a camera-dude shows up and starts waving lenses around, then smiles fade, eyes narrow and hands reach under tables for baseball bats...

Hence the decision to shoot in the Groceries Section. It was street-legal and much more benign. By the time I set up I was in no mood to be trifled with anyway :?)

Less fractious markets

To show you that not all inner-Sydney markets are Petty Crime Campuses, I've taken an alternative WWP shot of the Sydney Fish Markets at Ultimo (QuickTime VR, 1.49 MB). As you can see, it's a much cleaner and more civilised place, and there isn't a single baseball bat in sight (although some of the fish look a bit suspicious if you ask me...)
For more Andrew Nemeth hi-resolution QTVR samples with binaural sound, see vr.4020.net.
Leica M6TTL (with motordrive)
Leica 16mm Fisheye-Elmarit-R lens
Custom-made full-sphere VR mount & monopod
Fuji NPZ 800 film
Exposure: f4.0 at 1/15th at 800 ISO
Six portrait shots, plus one up & down
Sound: Binaural mics + pre-amp + minidisc

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