Siberian Fresh Food Market Photography Experience

Siberian Fresh Food Market Photography Experience


To travelling photographers Asian markets are an element of street photography not to be missed.  Vendors and patrons usually offer up a liberal smattering of people watching not to be missed.

The shops in the Ulan-Ude Fresh Food Market did not disappoint. The stalls were not just an escape from the depressing weather ( ) but under the skylight roof (no dank, questionable Asian roof coverings here) was a network of uniformly displayed offerings, foodstuffs in a pleasing array of brilliant colours, habitually tidy, not a fly buzz to be heard or any other wayward insect to be fanned away. Another delight was the staff, primarily coiffed women in matching (not exactly slim) costumes, including lace-adorned head coverings and aprons, adding an old fashioned “ice cream parlour facade” to the commodity scene.  Aside from predictable and locals only delicacies, perishables and dried, our interest peeked over widely available brown, sticky slabs, amounts cut to request. A local delicacy no doubt. Opting for a trial size, upon disembarking from the stall its curious nature was promptly tested. Sticky and smooth, mud coloured, a distinct smoky aroma with hints of foliage and texture of gum might be the tasting notes. The next English speaking Russians confirmed, smoked spruce gum. Not everyone’s liking but given the surrounding countryside, this byproduct made sense and smoking it was a local variation Wrigley’s might consider. A good winter chew for those long Siberian days might work better than the height of summer.

Within seconds of whipping out a camera a uniformed “guard” descended from somewhere and jabbered in stern Russian what could only be interpreted as “No Photographs”.  Where do those guys hide out? It’s hard to argue with a century of practise at putting people in their places so changing physical camera location to “shooting from the hip” kept the guards unaware for the rest of the market experience. One can only wonder what state secrets could lie embedded between the apricots or under the neatly arranged bags of potatoes. As goes travel photography, closer examination later reveals more than what was absorbed from the scene. When I look at the metal boxes in the ceiling my imagination goes back to the security guards protecting the secrets of the fruit and vegetable vendors. Russian spy cameras, perhaps?

For more on Siberian photography see


Russian travel photography
Siberian Shopkeeper Dozing


Russian travel photography
Russians Are Always Looking Over Their Shoulder


Russian travel photography
Siberian Bounty In The Fresh Food Market





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