"Mystery Meat" Examines Disconnect Between the Meat We Consume and its Source

"Mystery Meat" Examines Disconnect Between the Meat We Consume and its Source

Texas-born photographer Peter Augustus’ “Mystery Meat” series pokes gentle fun at the western world’s separation of meat and animal when it comes to the food we consume. The series presents standard western meals photographed alongside their un-processed animal sources.

Using classic American dishes, “Mystery Meat” raises awareness of the production of food in the western world. The series came about as a reaction to traditional meat shops in Hong Kong, where Augustus relocated two years ago. In sharp contrast to the heavily processed and pleasingly packaged meat in American grocery stores, shops in Hong Kong openly displayed every part of the animal without alteration. While less comfortable, this relationship to food is at least a more honest one. That being said, I may have had my last hot dog...

All images courtesy of Peter Augustus, used with permission.

Via [Feature Shoot]

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Matthew Taggart's picture

Pretty fun idea. I'd like to see an unprocessed Taco Bell taco. I don't know what their meat is made of but it is wonderful.

Anonymous's picture

This a cool concept but I'm glad I waited until after breakfast to get on fstoppers today.

Ralph Berrett's picture

Years ago I had a photo assignment in school of shooting a McDonald's hamburger so it would like a national ad then shoot it shoot it as it really looks under the same lighting conditions.

I have photographed a lot of farms with my work it changes you perspective on food. Not so much in a bad way, just in understanding. It is not as clean, neat as we like to think. It is a lot of hard dirty work that is needed. Even fruits and vegetables is not as neat as some think it is. You really do not want to know what is in your Ketchup. ;)

Matthew Taggart's picture

It is funny though, I grew up near a dairy farm, and you are right. Not as clean as you might think, but I also have to say, not quite as sweat shop as some people think either. Those dairy farmers take really good care of their animals and don't treat them poorly at all. I'm not saying every farm is like the one I grew up near, but it is such an interesting subject to me.

Ralph Berrett's picture

Photographed many a Dairy, I used to work on a yearly special edition on Dairies for a newspaper. There was a great deal of pride and care in their animals. If the animals are sickly or poorly cared for they are losing money. The science and skills needed is a lot more than people know.

Scott Stebner's picture

Completely agree. I spent seven years teaching high school agricultural education, have my degree in agriculture, and working on advanced degrees right now. My work (www.scottstebner.com) focuses mainly on farmers and ranchers and trying to show the faces behind who grows our food. With only 1.8% of Americans actually farming, it's no wonder there is a huge disconnect between the farm and the consumer. I truly had many 17 year olds believing milk came from the Coca Cola factory. Or the myth about where "hot dogs" come from or "chicken nuggets" etc... But it's our job to properly educate. :)

I think if people visited a farm, they would get a lot of understanding. It's a dirty job (Thanks Mike Rowe), but one they take a LOT of pride in.


Apparently this photographer has never been to México or any other of those other dozens of countries in the continent (USA is not the only one in America or in the "western" world you know).