One of the places I wasn’t expecting to visit while in Florida was a massive flea market called FleaMasters located outside of Ft. Myers, FL.
This market was physically divided into two large buildings: One for old goods (typical flea market/garage sale fare) and one for new offerings (basically a large outdoor strip mall). Both sides offered a wide variety of goods, foods, and even pets for sale. I naturally (?) gravitated to the old goods side first.
I was on the hunt for interesting details in “trash”. Armed with my trusty 60mm Macro lens, I wandered around from booth to booth, taking pictures of anything that caught my eye. Boy, did I find some interesting (and terrifying) stuff hawked at these booths. The cool stuff ranged from old toys I had, to a vintage N64, to jewelry of unknown age/origin. On the terrifying/sad side, I came across Nazi memorabilia, pictures of the KKK with crosses on fire, and old signs promoting white and colored bathrooms. For obvious reasons (not a fan of any of that), not only did I refrain from taking pictures- I quickly left the booth.
Besides being reminded of the South’s racist roots, I also came across a behavior I’ve never encountered before on a “large” scale (more than a couple of people per week, that is). A few people at the flea market, mainly booth owners I reckon, were very curious what I was taking pictures of. This wasn’t absent minded curiosity- it felt very direct and a tad uncomfortable if I didn’t answer them “correctly”. I quickly defused their worries as I was just looking for “cool stuff”. Luckily, the day passed without incident but left an unpleasant taste in my mouth.
Before any of you go off on me, I totally understand it was within their rights to ask me to refrain or stop taking photos. None did. I’ve just never encountered so many people asking me the same question in the same place, within a short period of time. Regardless, I found lots of interesting stuff to take pictures of. I love the details in objects that others ignore. From the specific wearing of a baseball, to the worn paint on an old toy, to specific stitching on a garment- all is interesting to me. It tells a story.