Monday, October 24, 2011

The Market Place in Jacksonville: Jacksonville, FL 10-8-1

I want to keep this more about the work I’m making and less about my personal stories along the way, but let me tell you: I’m looking for flea markets, NOT flea bags. Don’t get the wrong impression boys. I will slap you.

This has nothing to do with anyone I met at the market this weekend!!!

I walk in, and hear “Pea-NUUUUTS!” like I were at a ball game. I knew I had to find whoever was yelling about peanuts at 9 am!

Jay Watson: Jacksonville, FL

Jay was one of those people who I saw & didn’t see him as a three-dimension person… I saw him as if he were already being printed into the pages of this book.

Jay is no stranger to the camera. He told me that just last year someone from a local newspaper came to do an article about “stupid people in the cold” as he states it, coming out to the flea markets in the snow. This made me laugh… oh southerners! They do hate the cold!! Joe has been selling at his mother-in-laws hot boiled peanut stand forever he says. They have been in the same spot for FOURTY years! He hasn’t ever missed a single weekend. EVER (hence why he was in the newspaper). Jay loves coming out to The Marketplace weekend, after weekend because it makes good money! The product sells itself as he says, which during our little interview, he made several transactions, without missing a beat.

He explained that business hasn’t worsened since the economy went sour because people love to eat!

There are certain people that during this project change my life, or that I certainly will never forget. Gay happens to be one of them.

From the moment I approached her shed until the moment I left I had a huge smile just because of the person she is.

Thirty-two years ago Gay moved from New Zealand when she married a US sailor. She sold antiques on and off for twenty years and now finds herself selling baby stuff, because that’s where the money is these days. Although Gay is not in this for the money she does appreciate having her own money & not totally dependent of her husband.

In her free time, she volunteers with new refugees from counties like Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sudan & the Ukraine.

As I left, Gay offered me a bottle of water. Just a simple gesture like that really sums up who she really is.

After my encounter with the bounty hunter, I felt like I could take on some bikers.

Abraham Bernstein & Brian Charpiat: Jacksonville, FL

Abraham & Bryan have been friends for over thirty years. They have known each other their entire lives, but have probably only been close for the past twenty some years. The guys hated each other when they were little. Like despised. It got to the point where both of their grandmothers went into their back yard, picked up all of the rocks & sticks and set the boys loose on each other until they could work out their problems. They fought and fought for three hours! By the end of the fight, they were both lying on the ground, barely able to move, but still trying to beat the shit out of the other one.

Since then, they have become best buds. They both were in the Army, but never together (however they did run into each other at one point in the service which they said was really wild!).

They now sell homemade crafted toys, like Marshmallow guns & “Courtney’s Bubble Wand”. The profits for the bubble wands go towards funding for Bryan’s daughter, Courtney’s, cochlear implants.

LaBarba: Jacksonville, FL

La Barbra saw my camera and asked to check it out. She does photography on the side, as a hobby. She began selling at flea markets because she became a compulsive shopper. Now she has people buying things from her!

George had that scowl on his face that was just so precious!
George Sewen: Orange Park, FL

George nodded in approval when I told him I shot Nikon. He was a Navy photographer long ago. During George’s family history research he found out that most of his family were bandits!

At first I am really apprehensive about Eric, he seemed like a crazy man, but turns out that he is really knowledgeable & knows his shit!

Eric was looking at Georges’ cauldron. He was super excited about the piece (he is photographed with) he just acquired. He was so proud to show me that it was signed by the artist & that it had care instructions taped to it- therefor making it art & not a usable vessel any longer.
Eric Garrett: Jacksonville, FL

While asking Eric about his collection he admitted that he has three non-livable houses filled with different collections of shit. Eric seemed to be a serious kook, until he started telling me stuff about Savannah only a true historian would know. The only reason I know what he was saying was true because I also am a huge Savannah history buff!

I learned that Eric is a descendant of some very prominent members of Savannah’s history.

Doesn’t matter what flea market you are at, there is bound to be a few people setting knit goods or knitting.Penny is one of those people but today she was working on a different project; knitted figurines.
Penny McGregor: Jacksonville, FL

I approached Penny truly just because she seemed to be a very welcoming, warm person; which she was. Penny’s gentle nature may come from the fact that she is a Jibawah Indian.

It may be part of her Indian blood to never stay put too long, or do the same thing for a long period of time, but thats only a suggestion as to why she has had such an extensive background. She was in the Air Force for 2 1/2 years, has been a school teacher, fire fighter... and a million other things I couldn’t even write down!

The only constant “job” in her life is knitting & selling at flea markets for the past 20 years.

“Way back in the day”, as Penny puts it, she used to bring her rabbits and  grandma’s spinning wheel to the market, pluck rabbit hair (which apparently doesn’t hurt them) and spin it into the yarn. This tradition ceased when her ex-husband forgot to pay for their storage unit and it was no longer her property. She claims that this isn’t why he is her ex, but I know I sure as hell would make sure he suffered in some way for that! Maybe I’m just a bitch.

Penny says that the worst part of the market is the drunks. Apparently this market has a beer stand somewhere which is obviously a big hit for vendors & shoppers alike.

I had to excuse myself from the conversation after a while, not because Penny wasn't interesting, but because she was too interesting. I could have done a whole project on her (if I were a writer!). I needed a new face for a moment...

Holly Lomison: Jacksonville, FL

Holly was the first person to admit to me that she finds some of her merchandise on the side of the street. Yard sales are obviously another means of collecting goods, but  it all just accumulates after a while so she has no idea where the majority of it comes from. I’m sure it all starts blending together if you’ve been doing this for 44 years!

This story is one that I will always remember.

I’ll be the first to admit, I LOVE the t.v. show Toddlers & Tiaras. LOVE IT! I can’t wait to have children (in a million years!) and hopefully have a daughter who may show interest in doing something on stage like pageants or dance or theater (or we can only hope cheerleading like mommy haha). I’ve even talked to the mom of one of the family I babysit in Savannah about getting any of her three daughters into pageants so I can coach them, and dress them up & help them win money for college/ savings bonds. So when I saw what looked like pageant dresses from a distance I knew I had to go check it out.

Tabitha & her husband James were out with their children Emilee & Zachary to help with the costs of Emilee’s pageants.
Tabitha, James & Emilee Moody: Jacksonville, FL

Emilee was the sweetest little thing ever. She was so polite & adorable; wanting to show me her puppy in his sweater kind of adorable.
Tabitha showing me some of the dresses she is selling

The Moody’s have recently moved out of their large family home, into a mobile home, with two storage lockers in order to be able to afford pageants & live stably.

I was shocked by this. I honestly couldn’t understand how a family could give up so much for pageants for a six year old, who doesn’t even really understand what is going on.

I don't think that this man really knew what was going on either.
Jimeny Cricket: Earth? (maybe...)

Jimeny Cricket. That’s all I got.

Same story for these folks:

Felix & Guadalupe Austin: Jacksonville, FL

Felix did make it a point though to get all of his knock off designer brand boots off the table before I photographed them. I thought it was actually quite funny. Coach would NEVER make those crazy pointy cowboy boots, so why anyone would believe they were real is beyond me. Goodness...

Neon yellow gator skin?

Raw from Nolu: Jacksonville, FL

“Raw” is a rapper from Jacksonville. He generally doesn’t sell at his booth, but has other people selling for him. Raw owns a club in Jacksonville called The Pentagon. Away from that business he is trying to get more involved in the advertising business. “Rappin’ aint free”- Raw From Nolu

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