A project looking to document the lives and stories of people at an Aberdeen market has been launched.
Aberdeen-based writer and social researcher Ian Grosz, 45, and photography lecturer Steve Smith, 46, have come together to create a visual exhibition documenting the history of Aberdeen Market Village and its workers.
The duo successfully applied for creative funding for their project, dubbed Trading Faces, from Aberdeen City Council.
In early autumn they took to the market, off Market Street, to photograph its vendors in black and white and archive their stories in audio-recorded interviews.
Ian said: “We learned that some traders have been there since 1972 and they have seen huge changes.
“You learn that each of these people are trying to make the best of the opportunity the market offers them.
“We have met so many different people, those from Aberdeen and China – it’s a real melting pot of cultures.
“It’s a community within a community.
“Trading Faces is a project aimed at highlighting this unique space, and the people – the traders – who give Aberdeen Market its own unique sense of place.
“In a rapidly changing city we wanted to capture this diversity in images and story, and in celebration of the market before it too, succumbs to the pressures of development and change, and is lost to memory.”
The market building’s future has been in the spotlight since the collapse of BHS, and a proposal was submitted in September to revamp the space.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
Rockspring, which owns the buildings, said it is “seeking a new and viable approach to the redevelopment of the site” and that its plans include “more attractive and active frontages…to increase the vibrancy of the area”.
It wants to “dramatically improve the external facade” of the building.
It said it has been in discussion with Aberdeen City Council regarding options since the collapse of BHS and has now submitted a proposal of application notice.
The new development would include retail on Union Street, plus cafes and restaurants on Market Street and the Green, and office space.
Steve, a full-time lecturer at North East Scotland College, said the market is a place of nostalgia for many who grew up in Aberdeen in the 1970s and 80s. He said: “It holds a place in our history and it’s where people from my generation got their fashion and their ears pierced for the first time.
“It has a strong sense of place and it’s great to photograph.
“The project is growing into a story that is much more important; it’s about the lives of the people in the market.
“It would be a crying shame for us to lose their stories.
“If we do, I think we will never get it back. They are beautiful and heartwarming stories.
“I met a cobbler who had the business passed down from their father.
“It has been in the family for the past 46 years.”
Steve has been capturing the individuals using a vintage technique and has spent hours in a darkroom.
He used more than 60 sheets of 5×4 film and is busy editing the photos.
Ian and Steve “extended their thanks” to the management and independent retailers who offered their “warm support” throughout their research.
Aberdeen Market was built in April 1842 and burned down in 1882. It was rebuilt but later demolished to make way for the current building which was completed in 1972.
Ian and Steve hope to organise a public event in April to showcase their work.