If you look up 'agoraphobia' you'll normally find it defined as a fear of going out into public places. It comes from the classical Greek agora, an assembly and (by extension) a public square or market-place, and phobos, fear. Agoraphilia is, as far as we know, a word of our own devising; it means 'a love of public places' (especially markets) and believe it or not, it shares the root philos, love, with Philadelphia, the 'City of Brotherly Love' (adelphos, a brother).

Wherever we go, we love to photograph markets and shops and we've shot them in most of the countries we've visited: 11 countries are represented in this module alone. You can learn a lot about a country from looking at what it buys and sells, and how -- and, for that matter, how they react to photographers. Try taking pictures in Wal-Mart and see how far you get...

Calf for sale, Maramures, Transylvania

Markets are often among the last bastions of older ways of life. If you want to see what a country used to be like, before it modernized, go to the rural markets.

There's a certain amount of overlap with the paid module on street photography, for obvious reasons, but we thought it was different enough that anyone who was interested in this particular subject would be willing to pay for both; and, of course, it's free to subscribers anyway. If you can't decide between the two, we'd heartily recommend the module on street photography first. Agoraphilia is more 'picture-driven', with more of the stories behind the pictures; Street Photography is rather more basic and how-to.

Left: Piglet in car boot (trunk), Romania

Right: China Bisque Masks, New Orleans

Whether you are shooting in rural Transylvania or urban America, markets provide all sorts of interesting and photogenic subjects

Although the United States is surprisingly well represented (two shots from New York, one from New Orleans), poorer counties such as Greece (three shots from Crete) and Romania (five shots from Transylvania) are usually the best hunting grounds for markets; the UK scores only a single picture, but then, so does Mexico.

It's quite a heavily illustrated module, with 25 different shots, but as there are a number of comparison shots (before and after cropping, sometimes with different crops, and before and after Photoshop manipulation) there are around 30 pictures in all. Somewhat to our own surprise, the module turned out to be exclusively in colour: the majority of our market shots were colour, and the few black and white shots we selected looked a bit lonely so we dropped them. Maybe we should do another on the same subject in black and white only...

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go to agoraphilia $3.00 (or free to subscribers)

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last updated: 15/02/05

© 2005 Roger W. Hicks