OMG they moved it ! 6

Last week, I resumed my normal routine in Saint-Denis. Since the end of June, the kids have been on holiday and I’ve been hanging around the streets less often. It’s always the same during this period, I continue to do Street Photography, but in a different way. As you may have noticed, I took a lot more photos at the beach or other places where we’d been hanging out during the holidays. Back in the charming monotonous streets of Saint-Denis, where there’s little or nothing going on… Nah, I’m kidding, I told you I’d stop going on about how boring the streets of my town are! Well, it’s true that there’s not a lot going on, but if you look around a bit and put a bit of effort into it, you can still find some interesting things.

So here I am, back on the streets with my Ricoh GRD IV still on my wrist. 9 months with the same camera, that hasn’t happened to me for a long time! When I was editing my photos recently, I realised that I had a lot of dead or turned-off pixels on my sensor. This gives me more work in post-processing because I have to enlarge to eliminate them. Well, the really annoying ones… I wonder if this Ricoh GRD IV isn’t starting to decade. Anyway, we’ll see. I still hope to finish the year with this camera. So it’s with the Ricoh on my wrist that I’m hanging around rue Maréchal Leclerc, the main thoroughfare where I spend most of my time. I have to pick up my children from school, so as usual I go to the ‘Petit Marché’ bus stop.

For those who don’t already know, this is THE SPOT in Saint-Denis. There’s no place that offers so many opportunities for Street Photography. I refer you to a blog written about this place. What makes this place so interesting is its direct proximity to the Petit Marché. The white building with its arcades is home to butchers and fishmongers. And at the back is the covered fruit and vegetable market. There are also a number of souvenir and craft stalls. The building’s arcades and steps provide shade or a place to sit for Dyonisians waiting for the bus. I took countless photos here. At rush hour there are people everywhere!

Well, that was before … You’re not going to believe this, but they’ve moved the bus stop! They’ve moved it about fifty metres … It gave me quite a shock when I passed the old stop that had been dismantled. It’s all empty now. Gone are the steps of the Petit Marché, filled like football terraces. The new stop consists of just a large canopy to protect users and a few benches. Not nearly enough, given the number of people using this bus stop. People used to sprawl out on the steps of the Petit Marché for a reason… I don’t understand why this stop has been moved. It doesn’t improve traffic flow. Maybe the Saint-Denis council didn’t think it was a good idea for commuters to sit on the steps of the Petit Marché? Surely they’d rather see them waiting standing in the sun? And when it’s going to rain here? It was still more practical for users to wait under the arcades than in the rain …

Apart from these considerations, I found the old stop more photogenic. But like everything else, you have to adapt to new environments. The new stop is right next to the boutik sinois (Chinese shop) which must serve drinks to 90% of the marginalised or other alcoholic people in Saint-Denis! This shop must make almost 100% of its turnover from beer and rum (I think the owner is my father’s cousin!). Which is going to make for some fun photos from the bus stop! Knowing that there are a lot of children and women who use the bus, I don’t know if it’s a good idea to have this alcoholic population closer to the bus stop. At least they’ll have less distance to crawl from the shop to the bus…

This move has at least had the merit of shaking up my habits and getting me out of my comfort zone. I’ve been to this side of town a couple of times and have already managed some interesting photos. You can see the contact sheets below.

Two very different situations that show there’s potential here. Anyway, I’m going to have to get used to it, this stop is here to stay. In a few years’ time, no-one will remember that it was located fifty metres below! I’ll be here to get out my old photos…




All the photos were made with the Ricoh GRD IV.

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6 thoughts on “OMG they moved it !

  • John Harper

    How annoying is that? Plus I expect the market received some extra business from the people waiting for a bus so they’ll lose out. Those same people/passengers who led a healthy lifestyle, spontaneously buying some fresh nutritious fish because the bus was late, are now left no alternative than to go se the shop by the new bus stop and thus condemned to a life of rum and ruin.

    Wonderful work by you even so. Like the guy with hand, fabulous.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      One of those unexpected moments ! I saw this guy stretching out and it ended up with this photo. Lucky me ! The magic of Photography. Being able to freeze that moment to question the viewer. this Bus stop moving was kind of kick to my ass to force me to do things differently. Of course it was easier for me to make photos on the other spot but even if routine is comforting, change is also benefit !