Fishy Scenes from Mercado do Bolhão

In the UK we live in a fairly sanitised environment.

Sure meat eaters out number vegetarians, and I don’t doubt that many meat eaters are fully aware of where meat actually comes from.

This isn’t a post about the morality of consuming flesh.

But in the UK, the meat and fish we buy is very much presented in a way that’s unlikely to put you off eating it. Cleaned, de-scaled, de-boned, trimmed, packaged and ready to cook.

In short, there’s not a lot of difference between a chicken and a tea bag! You buy it, and it’s ready to be heated, then you eat it.

Here in Portugal, specifically Mercado do Bolhão in Porto, (and to be fair even the major supermarket chains) fresh produce is available, that’s not been so… How shall we say… processed in terms of pre-cooking preparation.

Like a great many people, I like animals. Like a great many people I eat meat and fish and animal produce. I am aware of the hypocritical nature of this juxtaposition. You don’t need to tell me about it.

But my personal opinion isn’t important, because when we partake in documentary photography, we need to show the world we see through the lens.

And that’s what these shots are about. I’m showing you a world that (depending on your location) you might not have seen. It’s a world your parents will have seen, a world which your grandparents would of been as comfortable with as we are with the Internet.

For me it’s not what I’m used to seeing, and that makes me reach for the camera.

All shots taken with the (frankly sublime) X-Pro2 and XF35/1.4.

Eyes
The same as they were when they were in the sea (well…)

Halved
Not pre-prepped, not de-boned.

Big Face
No cellophane. No plastic tray.

Armed
You’ll need to know how to prepare the food you eat.. no instructions

And as a last but not least comment, I’d like to thank the good people who toil at the Mercado do Bolhão, for allowing the strange Englishman to shoot their produce and get under the feet of their paying customers. If you’re shooting people and their places always ask, always engage, always have respect. Not only should that go without saying… But it also gives you some leeway to get in close, take your time and get the images you want.

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