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by Anton Gautama
I once again set foot in Pabean Market, located in Surabaya-Indonesia—a place I used to visit with my mother as a young boy. This century- old market, thriving since the colonial era, reflects a wonderfully dynamic and complex life. It has become a melting pot that unites Javanese, Madurese, and Chinese communities. This project is a result of deep observation of life in Pabean Market in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, for more than a year. Through this work, I would like to share and show how a photographer has a unique way of viewing a market life with a different approach: market life is a subject, not merely an object.The natural beauty of the architecture, despite being in need of
maintenance, reflects the strong and diverse native culture, as symbolized by the traditional dress of the Madurese merchants. This display of pride in their heritage touched my heart, leading me to understand and identify with that intriguing culture.
The alley in the old century market of Pabean where the public facilities such as bathroom and kitchen provided for those people living in the market.
The crowds and activities in the fish market area.
The activities in the market.
The blue basket in the right corner was from the man who came into the area and put it on the floor, while I was capturing the interior of the meat area before it opened.
Food stall provided mostly for the market community.
It was an unexpected moment, while I was trying to capture the cooking area of the food vendor and in the middle of the process, a customer visited the food stall.
Shallot vendor with her customer and worker.
It was quite challenging to capture the woman roasting coffee beans, due to the light and her movements.
Portrait of sisters who are part of the market community.
In the afternoon, I was waiting in the narrow alley of the market and saw a beautiful ray-of-light. I was finally able to capture a beautiful moment after waiting for an hour.
This retired man is a living legend. He has been living in the market for over 70 years. He was originally from China, selling roasted meat for 50 years; and working for 364-days-a-year. The reward, he could buy 2 flats in Hong Kong, and lastyear was his 90th birthday.
The colors of Pabean.
The expression of the woman resting after hardworking-day.
This pregnant woman and her daughter inherited her grandparents’ business in the market. She is part of the Chinese/Indonesian ethnic group in the market community.
Workers taking a nap during the fasting month.
It took me a couple of hours to capture this image, waiting for theright movements of the woman sorting out rotten shallots in a tiny, smelly, hot and humid storage room.
The leftover bones are usually used for making broth.
Sharing of the profit for the workers carrying goods from the fish market.
The fish market area is usually very busy at night. This quiet moment only happens once a year, one day before the Eid Al-Fitr.