The French village Ferney Voltaire rests just over the border from Geneva. Like many expats, I lived there for several years while working in Geneva. I now live in Central Geneva, but Ferney Voltaire still occasionally draws me into France for its weekly Saturday morning farmer’s market. It lays out in one big loop lined with stalls of fruits and vegetables, fresh pasta, fresh fish or meat, bread and flowers. Normally, as I walk from stall to stall, the vendors ask me how I am doing, offer me samples of their product and remember me from before.
As I walked around the market with my camera this weekend, I found people reticent about having their picture taken. Some looked at me inquisitively and a few graciously and politely asked that I stop taking their picture. It was not fully embraced, but was tolerated. In one instance, a man aggressively chastised me to stop taking pictures that included him. He was twice my size and I suspect he was intoxicated, so it was a little intimidating. In any case, I respected his wishes and moved on from that spot and I posted no pictures where he happened to be in the frame. This experience in general is different than in San Francisco, my hometown, where people seem drawn to the camera, even vying for the shot.
I took all pictures in pre-set hyper-focus by the advice of my professor. This made a difference for the clarity of the shots, all of which were produced at 28mm, F/16 and 400ISO, black and white pre-set, and in manual mode, which also fell within the parameters of the school assignment. I still struggle to predetermine the correct exposure, which I achieved only by trial and error.