The Market Rider
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ᝰ THE STORY
A countless number of trips have been taken to Indonesia with my motorcycle. Many encounters and many stops have been made along the road to take photos. But the one featured here probably was one of the most challenging and thrilling. I noticed this odd lady on my way to Blitar, in East Java. It was hard for her to go unnoticed as she was pedaling on the side of the road with a visibly overloaded carriage!
As I was on my motorcycle, I thought “How about you decide to follow her for a photograph?”. The state of the road and the heavy traffic quickly made me understand it wouldn’t be as easy as expected. I would overtake her, stop my motorbike’s engine, take a picture of her, and repeat the same process for several times but none of my images turned out to be satisfactory. When I overtook her again for an umpteenth time, she abruptly turned left and disappeared from my sight. She was nowhere to be found on the main road again! I couldn’t give up on my goal. I was this close! So I decided to go directly back with the hope of finding her again and... there she was! Finally. She had no idea someone had been struggling to take her photo badly for the last thirty minutes! Our worlds at that time were the exact opposite. Mine was agitated, noisy, intermittent, fully wired on anticipation, and permanently on the lookout for today’s shot. Hers was smooth, calm, steady, and focused on slow regular movements until she arrived at her destination. She was now carrying on her way in this tiny alley, pedaling peacefully and with such ease, free from any traffic and anyone besides me. I turned off the engine of my motorcycle for a final time, ran behind her, and positioned myself to take this photograph. I called her out. She paused. And I went to show the photo I had just taken. She laughed. A laugh told me she probably was uncertain about what to say and how to behave in front of a foreigner. Yet, our short chat was great. She told me she was a 75-year-old widow living with one of her daughters. “I go daily to the big market from my village and carry those big wicker baskets because it is easier to sell them there. I traditionally make them myself!” she carries on, with big pride. “Do you want to buy one?” she said jokingly. “And you know, the round trip to go from my town to that market takes approximately two hours; but I’m used to it!” she added.
The Market Rider presents this long chase which at first seemed almost impossible. And after this encounter, when I carried on my way, I pondered “Had you never been patient, this picture would have never been made. But it was well worth the struggle for a mere thirty minutes in your entire lifetime when this lady travels that road daily for two hours.”
📍Blitar, East Java 🗓 2018