I don’t know exactly what it is about Borough Market, but I could spend hours just wandering through there, lost in watching the stalls being set up, and hearing the market come to life. Yes, I buy things, because I find it rude to take pictures and not buy anything to support the stallholders. They are not just a tourist attraction, they need to make a living. I wish that all the people who stop and take photos felt the same way but that is a rant for another time.
I just like being surrounded by the bustle of the place, and then viewing it from a still, quiet corner.
Today I was in just such a corner. Maria’s Market Café. I sat with a cup of good, strong tea and a bacon sandwich, watching the world go by. Admittedly it was only 7.30am, so it wasn’t that full of customers, but from there I could watch everyone set up, greeting the day and each other.
I first ate at Maria’s in July of 2008, when some of the photos for this post were taken. Maria’s has been going since 1961, so I really should have gotten there before then...
That day in 2008, I had the afternoon off work, and so I treated myself to an outing to Borough, and found a place to sit down and eat, plus I had been trying to get used to my new digital camera whilst being blown away by the amazing produce. I needed that sit down. It was certainly an era of discovery for me, I can tell you.
Starting to enjoy eating out on my own, whereas I had always been nervous to do so previously, was a very fun piece of learning. Maria’s was perfect. Excellent food, speedy service and friendly. There is a lot to be said for defeating the self-consciousness that a lot of people have about eating in public. I know for many years I was scared to do so, because I would invariably get comments along the lines of “Don’t you think you’ve eaten enough already love?” or “You don’t really need that do you?!”
Then I decided that I absolutely do NOT need the blessing of rude idiots to eat in public. And that was that.
Maria’s was the place to get a luscious Lamb Bap.
It’s still on the menu today.
I think that lunchtime may have been the proper start of my obsession with food photography. I had a new camera, and dammit I was going to use it. I’ve never really looked back. I know my hard-drive is so full that I almost can’t bear to think about it – or work out the amount of blog posts that I should have written to go with the photos...
I’m not a technical photographer. I don’t understand the minutiae of F stops and ISO settings, I just have a vague idea and I do use the pre-sets on my Canon G9. (My first camera was a Canon A460, so Canon is my go to brand now.)
I freely admit I am more of a point and shoot person, but my brain very naturally frames things. As soon as I see something, a framed shot sets up in my head, and there we go. I get quite distressed if I miss an opportunity, so I am very grateful for the advent of cameraphones. They are less obtrusive in a restaurant than a larger camera, and one never uses a flash. That’s just rude. I am mortified if either the flash or the camera sound goes off!
Borough remains a place that I love to go and photograph. One day I would like to perhaps go to New Spitalfields, nice and early, or Billingsgate, just to experience the morning start-up there. I enjoy being an observer, but then I also like the fact that I can happily engage in banter with absolutely anyone, and market traders are the very best for that.
This past Thursday, I made the most of the amazing weather, and spent some time meandering around Borough, having a very decent breakfast
and then simply Looking.
I am happy to share what a simple phone camera can do.