Meat is there, in front of you, on your plate and ready to eat on a daily basis, yet we don’t question where this delicious sustenance comes from, we accept it as it is. We can go days, weeks and months without seeing a piece of raw flesh, when we do it is pulled from a neatly wrapped Styrofoam tray, the meat is slightly inviting with a gloss of anti-oxidising agent keeping it presentable, and that is the totality of the relationship we share with meat.
We can live in a state of cognitive dissonance and accept this is the only relationship we need with our meal, but why? Is the reality of meat so uncomfortable that we don’t need or want to consider the process any further; is it a lack of empathy or apathy? Surely we realise in every bite, we are chewing our way through muscle, flesh and fat of a once living, breathing creature.
This series of photographs takes you one step back from the supermarket; to butcher markets in Hong Kong and Taiwan where the reality becomes clearer. The Flesh, bones, skulls, horns, hooves, testicles, all present and unwrapped.
The gore and macabre ensures these markets are a dubious place to be for a westerner; here it is the normal way to buy meat. As a matter of feasibility, convenience and quality of product, what you see is what you get, no wiping away the blood or prettying up the fact that you’re purchasing a recently deceased animal, just brutal truth.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no high horse for me to ride on here, I eat meat. Yet I am happy to chew without reflecting upon the actuality of where this comes from, sometimes it is good to have reality to ground you – if not for a moment – to understand what is given to us for our enjoyment.
Carlo is a photographer and videographer, based in Perth, Australia.