Friday, July 13, 2007

Africa Shoot: Ghana Part 4

After the disappointment of the bush meat market, the fish market was a welcome success. We arrived on schedule and were greeted with cheers and applause. The entire Kumasi market was bustling with activity on a grand scale, and everywhere people were shoulder to shoulder. Among our crew, it was probably the most crowded place we have ever collectively shot. (I'm estimating that the market is about one square mile in size.) We followed our three lead scientists among the fish stalls as they recreated their survey work. The scientists were interested in investigating if the lack of fish in markets like Kumasi was fueling the bush meat trade. After years of work monitoring twelve markets in Ghana, they did saw a correlation: when fish supplies were down, the bush meat trade was booming, and when fish supplies were up, the bush meat trade appeared to wane.
Packed like sardines in a can, we made our way through the Kumasi market. This is probably one of the more difficult places I've ever had to shoot. Setting up shots, following our scientists and general communication were a big challenge.
The Queen Mother of the Fish Market. As you might guess from her smile, she was a delight. There are many Queen Mothers in the Kumasi market, and this one granted us permission to shoot in her domain.
Michael Afranie, Ghanaian film and television star, guided us through the markets. Everywhere we went, people cheered, applauded and reached out to touch him. He was a very cool guy.
Michael guides our crew through a labyrinth of stalls. Without his help we would have been lost in seconds.
One section of the Kumasi market, as seen from a an outdoor sewing factory. This was one of the only spots that we could find from above where you could actually see people because most of the market is packed so tightly.
A wider shot of the market. The market is all outdoors, with the vendors sitting under the shelter of metal roofs which obstructed any great wide shots.

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