Fruits and vegetables

Each time I go to the market, I see the same vendors sitting in the same spots, only marked by different clothing and wares.

Each season, the fruits and vegetables would change: peaches and pomegranates in the summer, citrus fruits in the winter, apples all year round.

As do the vendors’ clothing. Summer calls for shorts or capri-pants and sometimes nothing on top (for the men, of course). Winter saw cheap polyester puffy jackets and fingerless gloves to handle money better.

Hongkou market BW 02

Hongkou market BW 05

Sometimes, they’d mix their wares up a little. One vendor I know built a contraption to roast sweet potatoes for autumn and winter, and suddenly switched to vegetables in the same portable cart minus his little stove. He’d shed his layers as the weather got warmer, but they seem to be the same pieces of clothing.

Other times, random vendors will disappear for months and then return out of the blue.

“My sister returned to the countryside to give birth to the second child,” the fishmonger said.

“He’s avoiding the police for a while, he’ll be back when the Expo hoopla dies down,” the gadget man drawled in reference to the baker.

“She’s selling vegetables now, not fish. Try the end of the road,” the melon lady pointed out.

Hongkou market BW 03

Customers would still wear their pyjamas. Fleece in the winter and cotton for the summer. The quantities of food are largely the same, though inflation has affected everyone.

As we transition from summer to fall, clothing is layered and the color of fruits and vegetables turn warmer. But the bustle and noise is a constant.


September 2010



  • Reply October 22, 2010

    Shanghai 2007

    Nice story, the pyjamas is a classic. seems you have changed to all b&w?


    • Reply October 22, 2010

      Sue Anne

      Thanks Svend. Thought I’d mix it up a little. BW suits the mood sometimes.

  • Reply October 25, 2010


    Black and white really suits this image – the texture and shapes all work well.
    Great work! I’m also enjoying wondering through your other images!

    Good to meet you last weekend at the photography market too.
    Best wishes,

    • Reply October 26, 2010

      Sue Anne

      Hi Martin! It was nice meeting you as well, please do share the news of your upcoming exhibit on this blogpost and at the Shanghai Flickr meetup group online. I’m sure lots of people will be very interested. Hope to meet again soon. Cheers. SA

  • Reply October 27, 2010


    Great story, really reminds me of my childhood in Shanghai, when going to the market is a must every morning, unlike nowadays, where going to the market is once a week affair. Your photos really captures the atmosphere of the hectic and randomness of a Shanghai market. Thanks for bringing back the memmories! 🙂


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