Taryn Honell said when Thomas Lea approached her family at the market, she knew he wanted to take their photo because they are an interracial family.
"I wasn't offended or bothered by it. I was flattered. I thought it was cool and so did my husband," said Honell. "I lived here six or seven years ago and I never saw a black person. And it scared me away from Boise, so I moved."
Several years later, Honell returned to Boise to visit her in-laws and attend the annual Soul Food Extravaganza. She found that Boise is less monochromatic than she had thought. She's since moved back to the Treasure Valley and loved it ever since.
Statistically speaking, Idaho is among the whitest states in the nation. The city of Boise doesn't keep statistics on population and demographics, but according to an interim census report conducted in 2006, fewer than 1 percent of the state's population self-identify as African-American. Just more than 1 percent of the state is of Asian descent, with American Indian and native Alaskans combining to total 1.5 percent. Another 1.5 percent of Idahoans describe themselves as multi-racial. Of the 95 percent of Idahoans who identify themselves as Caucasian, more than 86 percent are non-Hispanic.
Ricky Martinez said he posed with his 5-year-old son after Lea explained he was interested in photographing the different walks of life people at the market represented.
"My son and I bike down there just to get out and see different folks," said Martinez. He's so excited about being photographed for Lea's show that he's already planned to attend the artist's reception for the show, which will hang at Zeppole in May.
Racial diversity may have been the catalyst for Lea's project, but it's not his sole focus in "Market People." He pictures people who stand out from the crowd, whether it's with an accessory like a pet iguana, a beard of dreadlocks or a sarong. However, among the otherness, Lea also incorporates the more typical, creating a slice of Boise's continuum of diversity.