The Modern Butcher

The Butcher - 2009

The Butcher - 2009

I was slinking around the local warehouse food store with the camera the other day, and got this moody picture of the butcher, alone in his glass-enclosed cage. The image is a more recent extension of some of the work I did last month in preparation for an exhibit in Frederiksted.

The camera sees the colors of light so much more acutely than the eye. While we all know that retailers make the meat look redder with a little red in the light, it’s normally not so obvious. The two different qualities of light here – in the work room and on the counter – help deliver the message in this image.

The “Daily Strife” exhibit at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts opens Friday night, October 16. Six of my images were chosen to be part of the exhibit, including the one on the promotional flyer below. The show will be up until December 1, so stop in if you are on island.

daily-strife

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10 Comments on “The Modern Butcher

  1. I really love the top shot. Strangely, it’s the bleak brutality of the image that really grabs me. Nice to see I’m not the only one who photographs butchers

    Congratualations on being selected for the exhibition, hope it leads to some more sales.

  2. Yes, photographing butchers, razzbuffnik… I guess that’s why I felt like I was slinking around. I like the image, too, for its bleak and lonely feel. Thanks!

  3. Oh, I like the top shot, too, and that was before reading your post. I really wasn’t sure what type of shop it was, but just liked it without any butcher sympathy or knowledge of additive lights! I suppose I could have guessed it but there’s something about the composition of it that trumps the details of the context.

    Good luck with your exhibit!

  4. Thanks Pat! I think the colors, the light in the “back room”, and the way so many of the lines lead the eye in toward the center makes this a strong design. The separation of the butcher from his customers also echos how meat has become such an abstract concept in our modern supermarkets — no longer associated with the living breathing animal it once was. I’m no vegetarian, but I like the practice in some cultures of giving thanks to the animal.

  5. Better to photograph butchers than to butcher photographs.
    I hadn’t realized that the image on the flyer is yours. I thought it was a painting.
    See, you really can’t butcher a photograph.

  6. Thanks Bonnie! Rest assured, I’ve butchered my share of photographs. Many have hit the digital trash can, and many others collect dust in files called “rejects”. It’s sort of like putting a canvas on the closet floor to set your shoes on.

  7. The top photo makes me think of isolation and morgues for some reason. I guess a butcher shop is a morgue of sorts.

    Congrats on the exhibit!

  8. Thanks, planetross. Yup it is a morgue of sorts… except we pay good money for pieces of the bodies, and then take them home to eat. Talk about weird customs!

  9. Hi Carol. Welcome and thanks for stopping by! I like this image, too. It just happened, and I wasn’t even thinkng about Edward Hopper — although I see the influence there now.

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