Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pecan Park Road Flea Market: Jacksonville, FL 10-9-11

There was a time in my life where I was thrilled to go to two flea markets in one weekend.

This was my fourth in one weekend.

It was such a crummy, rainy weekend in Jacksonville. Off and on storms did not make this the easiest weather to shoot in, but it's all part of life.

If you haven't gotten it by now, let me lay out the basis of this project:

I want to see the world for what it really is. How can I be successful at that when I don't even know what my own country looks like.  What are we doing with our free time? What are we collecting, selling, buying? What is going on outside of the big cities? Who are What is true Americana? Who are we? What do we look like? What are the stories?

Jean was someone I just wanted to approach solely because I needed somewhere to start my afternoon. She sat in her little folding chair, so contently as I passed by.

Jean Euler: Jacksonville, FL
Jean has been selling since 1997 at flea markets. Originally selling at Mt. Dora (one of the major flea markets I plan on going to soon!), Jean now sells here in Jacksonville. I asked her how the transition was from a huge venue like Mt. Dora, to a newer, smaller venue. She said that it's been pretty great! She now sells flags, because it was something that this market was missing!

She said that it was her husbands idea, & that he is usually here with her, but he was in the hospital that day. She told me that he recently broke his hip. I later said that I was sorry about that. She laughed & said "It's his fault! Typical man!!! I warned him it wasn't a smart move to (do what ever she had told me he did to break his hip)."

Funny gal!

As you know, one of my goals is to find unique people, selling unique things.

This was the first time I had ever seen anyone making stained glass ever, let alone at a flea market!

Billie & Jerry Childers: Yulee, FL

Billie began making stained glass when her second husband got sick. She needed to find something to do in order to make some money, and keep herself busy. She began taking classes in stained glass, & has been making wonderful, quality pieces for quite some time now.

Her new husband, Jerry, was actually also another stained-glass artist & they had been on the same website/forum for years but never actually met, until a show (I believe) brought them together.

Jerry Childers: Yulee, FL

Its so wonderful seeing artists, happy, making money. Doing what they love.

Other times, people love their jobs because of the perks, their bosses... the hours.

This would describe Tom perfectly!

Tom Mastropietro: Palm Coast, FL
After twenty years of selling nuts, dried fruits, snacks & candy I'm note sure how Tom hasn't lost all of his teeth! I know I probably would have. In stead, Tom thought it would be funny to say "Wanna take a picture of my nuts!" when I walked by.

He's lucky I had the balls to stand up and say SURE!

Connie seems like someone who would have also laughed at Tom's joke. She had that super spunky, IDGAF attitude about her.

Connie Higginbottom: Jacksonville, FL

Connie started selling at the flea market after her divorce in June. She needed the extra money and this seemed simple enough.

After finding out what does does for a living, anything seems simple compared to that...

Connie has been a bus driver for special education children since 1985! I know what a challenging job this can be. My mom is a special education assistant at my former high school. I was a bus counselor at a day camp & I had a few kids that had special needs I was in charge of.

She says that after 9-11, kids have really changed. I don't know what she means by this. But I let her continue, not wanting to offend her.

"You gotta protest, like I did in the 70's" - Connie Higginbottom

So since Macon, I'm on this power trip of seeing who I can push into being photographed. I am looking for a struggle. I am waiting for someone to flip out on me, or call me nuts! Not like excited waiting, but apprehensive about me.

Bob is someone who I was SURE was going to shoo me out once I asked him if he'd allow me to photograph him.

Complete oposite! He light up! He became so animated!!! Sadly, all of the photos I took of him "animated" were too blurry to use, he was just so excited.

Bob Shartrand: Kingsly, GA
Bob was a character! This photo makes him look so stern, and rough (which is what drew me to him initially) but he really was such a super sweet guy.

Bob has bought over 500 storage lockers while in this business. He said that only about three of them have been real winners. I can totally relate to this as a photographer- no matter how many images I shoot, I only really get one or two really GREAT images per every few hundred I take.

Since then, he has collected anything, and everything.

"I can do anything I want!"- Bob Shartrand

Bob has been told he does look like Santa a few too many times he told me, which may be the reason he never became a school teacher- didn't want to ruin it for the kids.

But I like his logic on this:
Bob got a job with UPS.
They said congrats.
He said HELL NO.
Brown shirt, brown shorts, brown shoes, brown socks. Hell, I'm sure those guys were brown underwear.

This is something I can get behind.

Currently Bob is a mail bitch. Or maybe a male bitch. I asked which one he meant, and said he wouldn't tell me.

Theressa & Randy Gunter: Kingsland, GA
Randy's dad was a Church of G-d preacher way back when. He kept bees. Randy hated bee keeping. Randy now has a few hundred hives.

I learned a lot about honey from Theressa & Randy. I loved the fact that they dont artificially their bee's!

Bought some "creamed honey" from them... Lets just say- PHENOMNOMNOMNOMNOMENAL






I don't care that Walk is selling all of this stuff. He is still a hoarder. He is still traveling every 2 weekends, to get more stuff. This is a disease . A disease that's been going on for 51 years. Seriously. This is sad. This is heart breaking. This is almost gross.

Walt is blind to this. I asked if he was a hoarder- he said "Naw." Thats about all I could get out of him.

*UPDATE: I apologize if I offended anyone of Walt's family. I should probably do some more research of the definition of what a hoarder is and when is the line crossed when it comes to business (especially when it is something as unregulated as flea markets).  Maybe I over reacted to the volume of inventory in such a confined space.

Walt Wilk: St. Marys, GA


  1. I disagree with your opinion of Walt being a hoarder. A hoarder is someone that can not let go of things, but he sells these items. He needs to replnish stock every two weeks because the market of customers has deemed it as valuable by purchasing things from him. What I see is a larger than usual inventory. The inventory has been sorted and priced. I am sure there is alot of the customers go to the fleamarket frequently. A wise business man keeps new inventory coming in. He has been able to make a living doing this his entire life. These pictures are of his business not his home. RIP Dad.

    1. Lisa,

      I am sorry for your loss. Please excuse me for sounding obnoxious and if you feel like I have dishonored your family in any way, shape or form.

      I am sorry for the delayed reply.

      The Urban Flea Marketer