Saturday: Mexico City Markets & Meat

Note: This post does contain some images that may be disturbing to some.  Click off the page now if you’re not interested in seeing raw meat.  Also, please do not shoot me as the messenger, either.  I am simply telling a story as a photographer on assignment, so to speak.

My day started shooting my first photograph at about 6:30am, some of which are shown here in my last post, Breakfast.

And I didn’t take my final image until 11:22pm.

I took a taxi back to the room but the other ladies stayed out enjoying their mezcal.  I’m not a fan of it and actually haven’t drank at all this trip.  I am tired enough; alcohol is just going to put me to sleep!  But it’s traditional here in Mexico to enjoy mezcal.  Or enjoy lots of it.

  In between breakfast and mezcal, we  I am exhausted.  Both physically and emotionally.

We went to the open air markets and there was so much meat, everywhere.  This is the land of chop it off the bone, fry it, add cheese to it.

The pride this woman has making her blue corn tortillas is evident and beautiful.

And then she fills them with meat and cheese.

The joy this woman has frying potatoes emanates from her.

And these guys were so happy at 8am on a Saturday morning in the rain just hanging out on the back of a truck.

Carcasses and all.

As was this man.

If nothing else, this trip has reinforced my commitment to a plant based diet. 

I also cried a couple times today when photographing the meat, the carcasses, the dead birds.

But, as a photographer, I am telling a story.

I am showing how the overwhelming majority of people here seem to eat.


…to older.

I don’t choose meat for my own life path, I don’t judge others who do, but I do at times have a hard time seeing it raw, bloody, and in such abundance.

On that note, I’ll take a pineapple juice please!

I’ll have what these guys are having!

It’s been a very long, emotional, moving, and powerful day for me.

I will process and ruminate about this day for a very long time to come.

The winners of the Two Cookbooks for Two Winners are:

Kristina @ spabettie July 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

all right, Averie, you are gonna laugh at this one, but something I make that is TOTALLY tasty and easy (and healthy) – all the variations of christin’s chickpea balls! :) I have made so many variations of them and they’re all good. ;) perhaps I’ll send you some as a housewarming…


[email protected] of Sugar Free July 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I already facebook like you :D

Please email me your shipping addresses, ladies!


1. Have you ever had to do something that you don’t personally agree with but for the sake of something else, or for another reason or to tell a story or to demonstrate something to others, you endured it or dealt with it in some capacity?

I apologize to anyone who is offended by the photographs in this post.  I almost didn’t post some of them but I wanted to show you what I saw.  And trust me, I saw a whole lot more that would make your eyes pop out of your head.  Those images will never be posted. 

I imagine that teachers who have to teach about concepts like evolution or creationism, or health teachers who discuss topics like abortion or family planning, if what they are instructed to teach goes against their own personal views, I imagine this is extremely difficult for those teachers.

Or perhaps a vegan waiter in a non-vegan restaurant has ethical issues serving the food but needs his paychecks to support his own family and in this economy it’s not always so easy to just go find another job.

Or perhaps a lawyer who is a public defender and has to defend someone who is behind on their child support payments or who has committed a very serious crime, I am sure this is gut-wrenching for that attorney, but because all people have rights to legal representation in the U.S., someone must defend those persons.

As a photographer, I am telling a story.  A very hard story for me to tell.  But one that I feel is important to showcase rather than not tell it and pretend it doesn’t exist.

I love all my friends, the meat eaters and not.

This is no way is a judgment on anyone who eats meat, seafood, plants, eggs, dairy (and I have cooked with dairy and eggs in some of my baked goods and desserts the past six months such as White Chocolate Blondies with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting or Fudgy Nutella Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting).  We are all on our own paths.

I wanted to showcase some of the powerful images and photographs I made today.  Hard or not.

2. Where are you at with your own personal meat eating, seafood eating, dairy or egg eating?  And why?

3. On lighter matters, what’s been going on for you this weekend?

I have a 6am wakeup call to start it all over!  Whirlwind, indeed!

Never intended to write this type of post tonight but could not sleep until I shared some of what I experienced today. 

Please let’s all be respectful and kind in the comments.  Thank you in advance!

69 comments on “Saturday: Mexico City Markets & Meat”

  1. I’m not the least bit apologetic about being at the top of the food chain, but I do approach my meat-eating ways with a sense of respect for the animal, if that makes any sense to you. The way most animals are raised and slaughtered is absolutely atrocious. I want them happy right up until the moment they’re killed.

    I’m about to go to a local Share Fair, which is a community resources event. I’m hoping to find out if there are any local “chicken sharing” opportunities, where I can put in some work and get free-range eggs in exchange.

  2. I think you got your point across very clearly and with taste. I know a lot of your readers are vegan (including myself), but it’s a hard fact of this world and it’s not like we can always just ignore it. I think you had no reason to apologize, but understand why you did. (However, I’m saying this from a veteran reader’s perspective, I’m sure you probably have some first time readers here too where you’d have to articulate your feelings on the subject.)

    Aside from the deep stuff, GORGEOUS pictures! You have really come a long ways in photography since I started reading your blog, and you are just doing a fantastic job! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  3. Also having traveled, I have some of these same images in my head. For me, it’s not so much the meat that bothers me, but what it is a symbol of. Like a commenter above said, the longer I go without eating meat the less I want it.

  4. As far as meat and seafood eating go – I haven’t touched either in 14 years. I am at a weird place with dairy and eggs now, though. I went vegan for Lent this year. Since Lent ended, I am no longer vegan, but I probably still follow a vegan diet about 75% of the time. When I cook, it’s generally vegan. When I eat out, it’s vegetarian. Works for me, I guess.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing these photos Averie. Even though I know it must have been difficult for you to do this post. Seeing the meat in the market would probably bring me to tears as well.

    Luckily with my business, I haven’t been approached by any clients with projects that I feel strongly against. I have thought about what I would do if I was approached with a project like that, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the time comes.

    As for my vegetarianism – I’ve been struggling with it. I haven’t eaten meat, aside from seafood, since October. It’s been somewhat difficult to stay away from eating chicken, poultry, etc. because my husband isn’t vegetarian, nor does he want to be. So, I’ve been trying a to test out new vegetarian recipes that he will eat.

  6. What great fun to pop in and SEE what this experience is like. Something to mull over the fact that all photography assignments are not going to be within your sphere of likes or dislikes. I remember traveling through Italy. Have you?? Woah, the amount of meat everywhere was very surprising to me. We were in one restaurant and ham hocks were hanging from every single rafter in the ceiling.
    Keep on keep’in on! What a fabulous experience.

  7. I really admire you for stepping outside of your comfort zone for your photography! You’re definitely reinforcing MY plant-based diet too. I’m fully vegan as far as my eating. I don’t know how I feel about it on the health end, whether cutting meat out entirely is THE ONLY way to be optimally healthy as some vegans are, but I definitely feel better eating a plant-based diet. My morals and also my environmental and food-industry concerns really reinforce my choices though. Gena at Choosing Raw’s green recovery series really hits home with me, as I’m a recovering disordered eater, and I think veganism is really fueling a healthier relationship with food.

    As far as the weekend, lots of cooking and hanging with the boyfriend!

  8. Averie I’m sure this assignment was very tough for you! But you were photographing real people and people are not always going to be around things that you like — so I’m glad you posted the photos. You’re out of your comfort zone, but I feel like we sometimes learn so much when we are out of our element.

  9. Wow, these pictures are incredible! You did an amazing job of capturing the emotions of the people and the whole scene that is going on.
    And to answer number 2, I do eat meat and dairy. Not a lot, but some. I do not, however, feel it is a neccessary part of the human diet and realize that many can and do thrive on veg diets. But, for me it works. Ideally, I would like to eat less meat and dairy and have what I do eat be all organic/cage-free/grass fed etc. I appreciate the fact that, though you do not eat it yourself, you are accepting and non-judgmental of those who do eat animal products.
    Great post!

  10. Seeing meat, no matter what the quantity, always makes me glad I am a vegetarian.
    Those are some great photos and, even though it looks like a whirlwind day, I am sure it has been a wonderful trip.
    Congratulations on the new pad, I know I am a couple of days behind on saying so. I am sure you will be quick to make your kitchen the hub of your home.
    I look forward to seeing its transformation.

  11. As a health teacher and a non meat eater I can totally relate to your post! I try to be as non judgmental and “preachy” as possible. As a teacher my job was to give information in order to help my students make more informed decisions. As far as my diet, I just do my thing and if people are interested in learning about my choices, im happy to share.

    Everyone is on their own journey and will learn at their own pace!

  12. Oh your pictures are just awesome!! What a great post.

  13. Incredible photos Averie, I can see how it was such an emotional day for you. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand people’s choices in life. I find it difficult in work when I see how medicated so many of my clients are. So many of them are on a high daily dosage of laxatives, yet if they were to eat a plant based diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, I don’t think they would have a problem with constipation etc. Also so many of the clients are on sedatives and as a result are over sedated and their true personality is really lost. What makes me the saddest is when I work with clients who have been disabled by their environmental factors and lack of stimulation when they were young. Very sad.

  14. thank you so much for sharing! I love your pictures. And this is also a great post, word-wise.
    I am a vegan when I am at home or at my parent´s house. But currently, I am living in France as an Aupair, and as long as the dairy products are organic, I do not mind a little butter here and there, although of course I would be happier with a 100% vegan diet. I try to choose vegan food wherever I go and I would not eat dairy just to make someone else happy and myself feel miserable afterwards…

  15. Gorgeous pictures: you capture not just the facts of it but the real people and emotions. Mexico City looks like a happy place.

    In answer to your question #1, I do that pretty much every day of my life! I live with an omnivore and cook meat and gluten and everything else. I would also prefer to use only organic methods, but he uses sprays and other things at times. It’s a big dilemma for me, but life is all about compromise. I intend to write about it as part of my writing career, as I think it’s an important thing for people to think about: having one’s own boundaries but allowing them to be occluded by the comfort zones of other people whom we live with and love.

    I’m not eating any animal products at the moment, but I do recognize that many humans do better when they do: whether they “should” be able to convert to vegetarian/vegan is not my business. I feel tremendously privileged to be able to eat vegan and take supplements instead of being forced to eat meat by simple availability issues.

    I still don’t rule out eating eggs (eg from our neighbors) at some point, as they did me so much good at other times in my life–but only from a good source where the hens are well treated. Possibly, I even think I might be healthier if I ate them. I just don’t have any desire to at the moment.

    Good luck with the rest of your trip, and good on you for going home when you were ready instead of sticking with the crowd!

  16. I would be the biggest hypocrite ever if I said I never dealt with meat.

    I will NEVER eat it.. but I admit, I have prepared it and photographed it for paid photo-shoots…

    I wish I could be a 100% vegan photographer… but that hasn’t worked out. I sometimes cook meat and photograph it it make a living.

    ..sad but true… and in the real world.. MOST people eat meat.. and nothing that I do as a vegan is really going to change that.. hell, I can’t even change my oldest son who eats meat.

  17. I would first like to tell you in honest sincerity, that your photos are amazing. Really. I am so impressed by how much you have improved and they look so professional. Way to go for going after something you wanted and applying it so quickly and efficiently!

    I think it is absolutely fine that you are showing the photos you have. The reality is, these things happen in the world. You are not advocating it, simply showing it through your photographs. It can be compared to anything that is difficult: starving children, extreme poverty, crime, etc. Those things are difficult and even awful, yet they happen and sometimes the showing of images that pertain to those things provides an honest awareness so that others can take action. Personally, I don’t feel that you need to apologize for anything, but I understand why you did.

    As for my own personal eating, I am a raw vegan, basically. I do drink coffee with unsweetened organic soymilk and I drink lots of tea. My diet is raw vegan because I have extensive food allergies, for one, and eating that way makes me feel great. I also feel that even if I did not have food allergies that the eating of dairy and meat causes mucus and can be hard on the body and create an environment for illness. However, that being said, I know that there are those who need to eat that way for whatever reason and it is in their best health interests. I have absolutely no judgment whatsoever for however any person eats. To each his/her own! :-)

  18. Pingback: Mexico City: Romance & PDAs

  19. Personally, I choose to eat meat, but I definitely respect those who choose not to. I try not to judge anyone over their dietary choices. I also believe that eating a largely clean, (semi for me) plant-based diet is best for our overall health, within moderation of course. I am looking forward to seeing “Forks over Knives” and so is my boyfriend/parents (hopefully). I do not wish to go 100% vegetarian, but implementing more veggie-friendly meals is definitely a positive :)
    Love your blog–always non-judgmental and honest!! <3

  20. Averie, your photos are stunning and so artful. You really are talented at photographing people!

    ” … but I wanted to show you what I saw.” That’s exactly what I felt looking at your photos, that you showed me what you saw, which is what all good photography does.

    I’m vegan and pretty adamant about it, but I can’t say for sure what I would and wouldn’t do because I can’t predict 100% what circumstances may arise.

  21. Pingback: Mexico City: Romance & PDAs | mexico

  22. Did you read the column in The Reader a couple of weeks ago about the reporter who snapped a picture of a child even though her father tried to shield the child from the camera? She told him it was within her rights to take the picture in a public place. She bragged about knowing her rights, and how sick she was of explaining them to people who didn’t want their pictures taken. I should have written a letter to the editor because I was so appalled by her indifference to the feelings of others. I’m so glad that you are a respectful photographer. Your pictures are fantastic. I stopped eating meat a few years ago, but I still eat seafood occasionally. After I went fishing with my kids, I stopped eating seafood for a while too. Your posts are fantastic. I like them, because they are well written, and I always learn something from you.

  23. This post was absolutely incredible Averie. I think you captured some very real moments, and I love the candid shots. I have a hard time looking at carcasses, and large chunks of meat, and sometimes smaller pieces of raw meat too.

  24. Beautiful pictures of the people in Mexico!
    I’m newly vegetarian (except seafood). I hate the way animals are treated in factories. If I go back to eating meat, it will have to be local and organic. I’m trying to cut out dairy (or at least keep it local and organic), but I love Greek yogurt. Either way, I’m trying to keep things mostly plant-based.

  25. I certainly do think it was your job to document the meat, no matter how gruesome: being an artist means telling the truth (though of course there are so many avenues to truth telling!).

    Glad you feel more committed to your plant-centric diet: these experiences really can make an impact! I’m also glad that’s what your reaction was, since travel is so often the reason a lot of people abandon plant based eating.

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