For Milan-based travel photographer Marco Brivio, a community’s marketplace contains hidden clues into the dynamics and essence of its culture. As part of a recent tour of a selection of Asian countries, he visited Japan, where he was immediately drawn to Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market. As the largest seafood market in existence, Brivio explains, the scene positively bursts with activity as vendors unload astounding quantities of fish meat to avid buyers.
Days at Tsukiji market are strictly and productively structured, beginning in the morning with an auction of bluefin tuna, a seafood that has been a source of significant global controversy since the species became endangered in recent years due to overfishing, a problem that has lead to as much as a 96% decline in wild populations. Much of Japan relies financially upon the mass production of tuna meat, which is used in raw cuisine like sushi and sashimi, and the country continues to be the its number one consumer.
After the sale of the tuna, the Tsukiji market is opened to customers seeking an abundance of seafood varieties. Brivio notes that tremendous amounts of meat are sold with the utmost efficiency, making it difficult to capture the perfect shot unnoticed. The market’s vendors are weary of photographers, he explains, so he makes an effort to be polite and tactful so as to avoid getting in the way. He prefers to work without a flash, capturing the deep and vibrant reds of the diverse aquatic species for sale, many of which are unavailable in most western countries.
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