During my time at Underdale College in 1987 I happened upon the East End produce market one late night in Rundle St. I found out that the whole market was to be re-located out to Pooraka within the next 12 months.
With this in mind I grabbed my Hasselblad, borrowed a bigger flash than I owned and in 1987 I visited the markets over a 3 month period between 2am and 6.30am which was the deadline for the traders to be off the streets. The daytime people took over from the nigh time people!
The success of this work for me begins with the faith shown to me by my colleague and friend Andrew Dunbar Master Photographer, who gave me the confidence to embark with my first exhibition. I decided to sit on these images for 20 years and in November 2007 I held the exhibition at Cocolat in Rundle St. It was important for me to show the collection where the images originated, and even today there are still reminders on the walls around Grenfell St and behind in Vaughen Place a bronze leather apron statue sits near centre of the old market.
Having always wanted to hold an exhibition, the journey was empowering as there were considerable hiccups along the way, including on the day it’self! A major sponsor was the Pooraka Produce markets and I was able to get in contact with the traders who had worked in the East End or had relatives who were still around and had memories. As I discovered, the people who appear in the photos have families still working in the fields, still travelling by truck to deliver the fresh food. It’s these people who became the focus of the collection, whereas my thought when taking the photo’s was to perhaps show to the new residents who were living in and around the life and culture which had existed there for 140 years. Not so, once the invited guests from Pooraka saw the prints they were brimming with stories and reflections of the East End, for them it was a much warmer though cramped space to work, the reality is that the Market outgrew the space around the East End. Some still would prefer to be back in the East End.
I have produced a small book of the collection, which is available on request. Again, this book has reached many people who have been involved on the fringes of the this important industry.