A day at Attatba wholesale market
In March 2019, I’ve spent a day at the Attatba wholesale market for a photo reportage. Accompanied by the Newsteam staff, Yves and Karl. I was there to take a series of photos of solar panels. The installation and other photovoltaic energy equipment (inverters, lighting … ) installed by SunGy.
Attatba or Httatba, is located west of Algiers, between the wilayas (Departments) of Tipaza and Blida. The strategic location of the Attatba fruit and vegetable wholesale market, in the heart of the Mitidja plain, makes this market a national hub for fruits and vegetables market. Where traders come to stock up, buy and exchange.
With the Newsteam staff, we were received with a little suspicion and the tension was palpable. The Hirak movement was in it’s intensity, a general strike had been declared by the opposition at the eve of the resignation of the President of the Algerian Republic, Bouteflika. A photographer walking through a market, with his camera in Algeria, in the midst of a political crisis, apparently did not bode well.
A complicated context
We wisely waited for our local contact to come up to the authorities, so that we could start working. After an endless hour at the market cafe, to undergo the curious and suspicious looks of traders and people working there. Our contact finally arrived. After a brief visit to the office of the management of EMAGFEL we obtained the authorization to do the photo reportage.
Authorized to draw my camera now I started taking pictures of the Attatba wholesale market, I was surprised by the change in tone of the traders and transporters. Now I’m asked to take portraits of them. Reassured that I am not a journalist coming to denounce non-respect of the strike. The users of the Attatba wholesale market became requesters of pictures. They were there, negotiating purchases and sales of fruits and vegetables, swarming everywhere. A truck coming inside to unload its goods, another one getting out full to deliver retailers to another department of the country. Just to see the trucks registered in practically the 48 wilayas (departments). I realized the influence of the Attatba wholesale market on a national level.
Oranges, strawberries, artichokes, beans and other fruits and vegetables were traded. It was the daily life of a wholesale fruit and vegetable market. The farmers and other traders invited us to come and taste their wares with a smile. They call me to take a picture of them, showing proudly their well-sized and juicy fruit …
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