Parts of a Whole
Images of the Pike Place Market
Photographs by Matt Driscoll
As soon as I was old enough to take the bus by myself (and sometimes even before - my parents would always yell at me when I got back), my friends and I would head down to First Avenue and the Pike Place Market. We went for the pawnshops and the Army-Navy Surplus, but mostly we went because it wasn’t Northgate, or Food Giant. It was the darker, ignored side of Seattle…seedy and dirty, with people unlike our parents.
I didn’t see much of this part of town during my high school years. It wasn’t until I got to college, and began taking photography classes in the Architecture School, that I discovered black and white photography – and rediscovered the Market. I saw it as the most Noir place in Seattle - dark and gritty and perfect in grainy B&W.
Even then it was beginning to change. A cleaned up downtown was heading for the Market. Victor Steinbrueck and friends stepped in just in time to organize a successful campaign to preserve and protect the character of the Pike Place Market. It’s gone through some changes since then, many of them for the better. More tourists, of course, but also more shops, musicians, vibrancy and life.
A few years ago, I took up serious photography again (more expensive gear), and abandoned my digital point ‘n shoots. My office was near the Market, so I frequently went down at lunch to test the new gear (a.k.a., take photographs). The color and texture of the fish markets, flower stalls, produce stands, craft booths, funky architecture and unique vistas are wonderful, but it is the people that keep me coming back. Sometimes they’re the same, sometimes different, sometimes too many, usually surprising, and often weird – but always interacting, doing something, always vital and alive.
These photos date from 2007 to now. They were taken with Leica, Nikon and Panasonic (a brief flirtation with m4/3) gear.
Hope you enjoy them.