At Seattle’s Pike Place Market, the flower sellers are a major attraction. Photographing the seasonal bouquets is almost as popular as buying them – maybe more so. The colors are delicious, but what interests me even more than the displays is what’s behind the scenes. The long row of market stalls backs up onto Pike Place, where they are open to the street. Workers often pull heavy plastic tarps down between the flower-crammed work tables and the old brick street. Buckets of flowers get pushed up against the tarp, flattening some of the blooms into two dimensional compositions. Seen from the street, through the scratched scrim of worn plastic tarps, the bouquets take on a whole different look.











There I am on the brick street outside the market, wading through the debris from the flower stalls. In heaven.


Behind the scenes – market interior on the right, street to the left.


Inside the market, long rows of gorgeous locally grown flowers, and happy customers.


Parting shot

The photos were taken with my older model Samsung phone and processed in Lightroom. I was near Pike Place for a conference that day and I didn’t have my camera, but the phone did the trick.


  1. Love the red shoes! And the red tulips and the white metal buckets…behind the scenes market interior is great!!

  2. Your alternative approach has once again paid off hugely Lynn. Going around the back has produced some really interesting photographs. Much more so than if you’d done what most people do and photograph the flowers from the front. What a wonderful market this is!

    • Well, I took a few in front, too – can’t resist! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Many of the flowers are grown within about 20 miles, in fields in a valley nearby, mostly by Hmong people from Laos. Isn’t that wonderful?

    • Great Scott! I mean, great, Scott. ๐Ÿ™‚ glad you like these. I have this fear that someday they will replace all the plastic tarps with another material and that’ll be the end of it. The first time I photographed these was several years ago though so I’m safe for now, I think. And I was pleased that the phne shots turned out as well as they did – in certain situations the phone is dismal, but I guess this was straightforward enough.

  3. I often look at the flowers and the odd patterns through the plastic, but for some reason I never took photographs of what I saw. It makes lovely vignettes. I especially like the yellow one with the hole and the fabric border across the bottom. That would make an excellent art greeting card. I like the Asian inspired balance and sense of story.

    • Cool You see that too! As you know, you have to squeeze between the cars in a narrow space to take these photos and that probably keeps a lot of people from noticing. I tend to walk wherever I need to walk when it comes to getting the photo! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I actually discovered how cool it looked one day when I went on that side of the cars to get through because I just couldn’t deal with the traffic jams in the road and inside the market halls…lol. I used to spend time there often, so I knew all the tricks. I also was often walking on my own and there for inspiration – gathering images – but I didn’t have a camera at that time, so rarely captured things other than with the photos in my head.

  4. Your photos of the flowers against the tarps are just wonderful, Lynn. Smashed and hazy, the flowers lose that too-precious look that I often see in flower photographs. . . . My mother used to say that red shoes run faster.

  5. Very good thinking photographing through the tarps, a very good idea >>> and your shoes really make that shot – they harmonise with the bricks and clash excellently with the torn and twisted green leaves. A ๐Ÿ™‚

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