Many people think of Los Angeles as a cultural wasteland of freeways clogged with traffic, chain infested strip-malls and fatty fast food. But it wasn’t until I moved to the city that I really started to uncover and explore many of the great historical locations known by locals that really reflect the incredible melting pot of cultural influences that make up the cities past.

The LA Farmers Market has been open since 1934 and is a historical landmark featuring over 100 vendors including ready-to-eat foods covering America, Spanish, French and Asian cuisines, grocers, toy and game shops and high end delis. Unlike many farmers markets which are usually held at specific intervals like once a week or month, this market is a permanent installation open seven days a week.


Camera Gear Used

  • Leica MP240
  • 35mm Summilux 1.4 FLE Lens
  • B&W 0.9 3 Stop ND Filter
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LA is crazy big – so directions really depend on where you are coming from. But one small tip – park at the Grove shopping mall parking lot. Its way easier to get a park there than at the market itself.


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The light at the Farmers Market is very interesting. Most of the market is open air, but since all the stores are found within old laneways, filled with umbrellas and awnings it creates these very high contrast and interesting shaped shadows. There is a huge range of people here too which means wherever you turn there are great subjects to photograph.

I love monochrome images, and even though I really liked the color in this photo, since the shadows are so strong here I felt it would work great in black and white. It was shot wide open at f1.4 so I could focus on the ladies in the middle table, but I really liked the woman walking alongside the table to the right. She was so well dressed and really captured the distinct range of people at the Market.

I used Silver EFX Pro to edit this image and started with the High Structure Smooth setting as a base then edited it further from there by adding an orange lens filter to increase the contrast and brighten the highlights. I also really like the film settings in Silver EFX Pro and used the Tri X 400 ASA to add some extra grain to the image.

What I love about the LA Farmers Market, within a photographer’s perspective, is that its a great place for both people watching, making it perfect for portrait and street style photos. But what makes it really unique is many of the vendors have been there for 50-70 years or more and the signage and design of their stores have changed little over the years. This can add a very historical feeling to your photography making it really hard to pinpoint when the photo was taken giving it a very timeless quality.

I really like to look for the interesting details with the larger environment as I feel this really tells a deeper and more interesting story about the location. The food vendors had some amazing displays and this pasta counter really stood out due to the colors and variety of shapes in the cabinet. I shot the image at f1.4 so that I could isolate the purple pasta within the center of image. I really liked the cool light that was coming from the display cabinet so I enhanced that a little in Lightroom, along with cropping some of the distracting details from the bottom of the image. However, overall this image is very much as it was taken in camera.

I loved this ice-cream store at the market. It opened in 1937, so its been there almost as long as the market itself. The colors, the signage all gave this location a really timeless feel.

I waited for a while hoping someone interesting would enter the frame and order some ice-cream. Since the 35mm lens is manual, I pre-focused the image to the Choc-Dip signage so that I would be ready. I set the lens to f1.4 as this area of the market was quite dark and I wanted to have as fast a shutter speed as possible to ensure there was no shake.

After ten minutes or so, this girl finally come up to order. Her dress more traditional in design and pattern which I felt supported the time period of the store. I took four photos before she finally turned to look towards me and then I moved on. I did a black and white conversion of this image as well which I really like, but the color adds so much to the feel, I had to stick with the color.


Address: 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036
GPS: 34.0719955 | -118.360253
Website: http://www.farmersmarketla.com
Accessibility: Open 7 days a week with free entry. It’s easier to park at the Grove shopping mall next door and walk across. Check out the website as some stores have different operating hours.

LA Market Images

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