Photographing in the Butchers

My classmate Hannah, suggested that I should photograph in the Butchers, as the colours and textures in meat are not only gruesome, but it would be a great source of primary research too.

I visited three Butchers around Oxford, and these were the successful photos I produced:

The colours are very strong and graphic, and it reminded me of Lee Bul’s pieces:

Textures I want to develop further from the photographs:

  • Veiny
  • Slimy
  • Slippery
  • Wet
  • Moist
  • Cold
  • Thin
  • Stringy
  • Dried

As a selection, the colours are very strong in red tones, but I am more interested in flesh skin tones, with just a little red. I do not want to explore grotesque of the insides of our bodies, but more of the exterior of our bodies (skin etc), therefore I lean towards flesh skin tones. These photographs are mainly helping me in establishing textures that are gross, so I’d say it inspires me texturally, not in colours as much, as I am not using the strong reds and pinks.

I will present the photographs onto A1 sheets after I’ve printed them, and a few in my sketchbook as I develop the surface textures for my final piece. What I also like from the photos, is the effect of clear film over the meat, because there is something grotesque in how the exposed raw flesh is being wrapped and stored. A slightly translucent quality is apparent in materials I intend to use too, like latex or thinned slime, perhaps because skin is a clear surface.

Some photographs were also unsuccessful:

I thought that the clear plastic film overpowered the actual textures of the meat too much, and made those textures a bit unrecognisable for me. Too much light was reflected from the surface of the meats, but I was glad this did not happen for most of my shots.


I did not find this very gruesome, as the meat seems cooked and seasoned. If I had to find one aspect that could pass as grotesque, it could be the hole in the meat, an exposure of what could be inside it. Maybe the hole seems unnatural too, so it is grotesque?


 I was too far from this tray to capture the textures in more detail. It is definitely gruesome, but again, I was aiming to capture the texture, as the strong red and pinks is not what I am using in my designs.


This was out of focus, which is a shame as the dried texture is what I tried to get. I only managed to get a tiny bit of cracked skin on the edge.


I had the idea of using string to tie up flesh, as it is grotesque when the flesh bulges due to the tightness of the string. This is not a terribly unsuccessful shot, but I wanted to just capture the string and meat, so I may crop out the unnecessary background.

Now, I want to try photographing the skin’s surfaces more, in particular, the folds of skin, such as the elbows. I tried today with Hannah, but they were not as grotesque as I hoped, as it lacked texture. I also want the shots to not be too literal, in revealing what body part it is.


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