Another summer holiday long weekend and the little town of Ganges swarms with visitors. The open-air market is a big attraction and so it is strange that I, who hate crowds, should be here at all. I have decided that since I am bringing my visiting daughter and friends into town anyway, I might as well use the opportunity to take some candid photos of people at the market. Perhaps if I treat it as a safari, the idea of bagging some big game photos will add zest to the experience.
At first I cringe as I am engulfed in the tight-packed feeding frenzy of the shoppers that jostle among the stalls. My camera is set to a wide angle, automatic setting that allows me to inconspicuously snap pictures from waist level and at first I fire blindly away into the milling masses. It doesn`t take long however, before I start recognizing familiar faces behind the piles of handmade crafts and organic fruits and vegetables from islander`s farms. Even those folk I do not know personally look familiar and all smile back to their customers who, now that I am no longer feeling so engulfed, look remarkably friendly too. I take a grip on myself before I am sucked completely in: “Danger! Too nice! Too sweet!” Just in time I recognize that a Harry Potter-like spell is at work putting a glamour over the market.
I adjust my camera to a slow shutter speed, armour myself in bloody thoughts, and dive once again into the jungle, determined to capture the true nature of the beast I know must be lurking here in the soma laden air. Layers of bright fabrics, sweet tempered children, beautiful women, tomatoes, flowers and musicians dance in swirls across my camera`s lens. “ Surrender! Surrender! Join with us,” they cry. “Don` worry! Be happy now!”
I stagger to the edge of town, pounding my head and twisting my arm to shake off the spell. Saltspring Island`s market can be a dangerous place on a summer weekend, even for the experienced photo hunter. God help the tenderfoot!