69 thoughts on “amanda lucier – night butchering”

  1. Amanda’s website is a must see, esp after the discussion the other day with Byron about shooting in “your own backyard” (vs the ripped from the headlines subjects we tend to associate with great pj). She has an amazingly clean eye – her compositions really kill me. I love the tender moments, the ones that make life real (we don’t have to live in a war zone or the inner city to have moments of great emotion). The picture of the girl crying on the way home from the fair after losing is one of the strongest I’ve seen in a long time.


    Curious as to what you were doing in Seattle (my hometown)?



  2. panos skoulidas

    Can’t help it ..
    I want a print .. I will frame it..
    It resumes all of my love life so far..
    that’s hot..
    Ok, off for a drive!

  3. Wow, Amanda has really enjoyable photojournalist work. Kudos, DAH, on bringing her to light on Burn. I like the clarity of the images and the craft: beautiful, straight photography.

  4. Great shot! Great pic!….I love ‘journalism’ that does not ‘look like’ journalism. In other words, exploits all the other visual media around: films, paintings, video, etc….

    from a purely visual point of view, i make crazy associations: Francis Bacon, David lynch, etc…which augments and enhances the image. But from the strictly journalistic point of view, the photograph simply RULES! The expression of this young woman is absolutely fabulous, in total contrast to the juxtaposition of the saw, the blood and the carcus. On top of this, the fact that it’s done during twilight, or sun up makes it that much stranger and unusual. Also, her brilliant use of light: the ring highlighting the blotch of intense blood, the light on the saw, the coloration of the carcas. And this strange image of this young, thin woman as a night butcher (sweeney todd, anyone?), is just hypnotic…

    A brilliant brilliant photograph, which as conceptual art would have been interesting and literate and cool, but as journalism it is just down right brilliant!

    and i second what Charles said. I looked at Amanda’s website to see the series (i too would love to see a series about butchers) and she’s got a great eye for detail, moment and composition. But, again, all the work is ‘near” in other words, great classical newspaper work: imaginative, home stories that really speak to the universal…i loved the stories in the Newspapers…and I loved the secret life of children series and much from Around…

    a terrific photographer…and god damn, i want to see this series in its entirety :))

    brilliant photograph!


  5. an anon. reader

    yes, charles, that crying picture is transcendent. that shoulda been the “selected photograph” above.

    amanda — today’s a day to feel great — you are a gifted photographer. congrats on the burn shout-out.


  6. I have seen this scene before. In what seems like a previous life, I was a butcher. A long story; I got a part-time job at, I think, the age of twelve, delivering meat to customers for a local butchers. This was a good job for my parents as I used to get a “wrap-up”; a collection of goods that had not sold by closing time on Saturday. By the time I left school I used to work before school, Saturday and Wednesday lunch – which was a half-day-closing day for shops: I used to help my boss, Tom (another story) clean down instead of having school lunch. Before he headed for the pub we would have ham sandwiches and a bottle of Blue Bass beer each before I returned to (nearby) school
    When I left school I, naturally, became a butcher. Part of my training was (voluntarily) to work at the abattoir (slaughterhouse) one evening a week. As Paul, says, “what a creature, huge”! It is shocking to see a creature so large hit the floor so quickly when shot with a stun-gun, which is basically a bolt fired into the brain.

    Today, I will not kill a fly. I will spend ten – twenty minutes chasing a fly out of our home rather than kill it.

    I do eat meat: I reason that everything eats everything else and when I die something will eat me; but I am increasingly concerned for the welfare of animals. I will not eat chicken because they are too easy to abuse.

    I have been fortunate enough to see Sebastiao Salgado’s exhibition, “Workers”, which included photographs of a (U.S.-as-it-happens) slaughterhouse. It reminded me of a gas chamber at Auschwitz, the pigs had a shower before being slaughtered. Many people do not agree with hunting but at least the prey is free and wild before death.

    Vegetarianism beckons – again! At least I now (at 58) love sprouts!


  7. AN ANON

    i love the crying picture too….but Amanda did not choose to submit that one…i have to go by what the photographer chooses to send us…besides, the one above is just killer (no pun intended).

    cheers, david

  8. As a vegetarian who stopped eating meat years ago because of my concern for the animals, I find this photograph extremely disturbing. As a photographer, I can see it is brilliant. But I must admit, unlike my dear brother Bob B, I’m not looking to find a photo essay on butchers!


  9. ANON…

    went back through all of Amanda’s work again…and looked again at the crying picture…now i know for sure that even if i had seen the crying picture, i still would have chosen Night Butchering…on a whole different level than the crying shot which is good photojournalism , but Butchering puts Amanda a cut above…

    cheers, david


    yes, this photograph IS disturbing…which is ONE reason why it is brilliant….i will buy the women butchers of American book…but, this will make me a vegetarian as well!!!

    cheers, david

  11. panos skoulidas

    D, the only reason this photo
    is “disturbing” is because it
    reminds me my divorce…
    years and years ago ..
    I know how the “BEAST” in this photo
    feels (felt) when first seen the
    cold eyes of that pretty “butcher” girl..
    ( thank god it’s over )

  12. panos skoulidas

    ( laughing )…
    I will send u a pic of my ex wife..
    Trust me.. You don’t wanna see any closer…
    Ok.. Off for a drive ( not a family one )

  13. Panos,

    Have you notived that Amanda Lucier is just one letter away from LuciFer!!!! Fuck if that is not scary!!!!! Lauughing!!!! Amanda, we like the devil in you :):):)


  14. Wow that just blows be away Amanda, the thing I find interesting is that theres a really hard to read expression on the butchers face , is she secretly appalled? Is she concentrating , so into it she’s not going to make a mistake?
    It makes a lot of comments on meat and the human killer!
    You definitely have a real look going from what I can see from your portfolio , Bravo !

  15. the blood reads like paint to me…
    love it..
    yet complicated….
    almost a painting..
    or something…

  16. panos skoulidas

    Oh wow… Now it makes sense..
    Ok… Kiddin! Good job Amanda..
    “BURN” loves U..

  17. panos skoulidas

    Also notice that “she”
    wears red.. Her soul is also
    Amanda is this a “SELF PORTRAIT”..
    is that U..
    Is this designed as a “fashio shoot”..??
    Is the red that she is wearing just
    a coincidence.. or is it just me
    that read lots of Agatha Kristie as
    a teenager????

  18. Brother P :))))

    Twin Peaks YEA! :)))))…

    wheres the blueberry pie? :)))))

    i love this photograph….and i definitely prefer to the crying girl…’cause this one also is totally AGAINST normal expectations…it’s a revelation! :))



  19. This image has so much going for it. The look in her eyes is spooky, then I notice this strange device in her hand with some chunky fleshy stuff on it, then I begin to wonder what she is doing, then the blood on the ground and the carcass fill in the rest.

    What is beyond amazing is that the carcass skin and her outer overalls are the same color yellow. The animal skin wrinkled and so is her overalls. The blood from within the animal is red, and so is the red shirt under her overalls. Eerie.

    The carcass even seems to be grabbing for the chord as if to pull the device from her hands.

    I love this.


  20. Jim, Sis Patricia :))

    the thing is that this photographs is NOT advocating being a carnivore…but, about the occupation of this young woman…and this profound contrast between the butchering of the cow and her ‘innocent’ young face…it’s remarkable….an absolutely brilliant image…the size of her body compared to the Leviathan hanging scalped…and the blood and her prom-queen face…it is really a ferocious and totally stunning and weird photograph…

    i hate war too (and the killing of animals) but i own a shelf of war-books, …if the idea of the slaughter or abattoir makes people uncomfortable (i also spent a summer doing a college internship at a Meat Packing plant/slaughter house in Landsdale, Pa)…then just look at the lighting and her expression…and the absolutely odd contradiction between the job and her….a re-arranging of our pre-conceptions…

    just brilliant photo and i want to see a book….ok, forget butchers, how about a book by Amanda of butchers, lumberjacks, gravediggers, prison guards, etc etc…this is photo-of-the-year calibre!!!


  21. David
    you of course are right, i agree now after re-looking hours later. this selection goes to another level. very modern. artful.

    you rule, Mr. H…

  22. ANON…

    i absolutely do NOT rule…all i do is give my honest opinion in exactly the same way i want you to express yourself…and an opinion is just that, an opinion….we are all in very subjective territory on BURN and anywhere in the world of the arts…now, and it has always thus been in the world of critique…two people looking at the same photograph most likely have totally different backgrounds, time in photography, and life experience…all affecting the perception of a picture…and all of us have had the experience of having our tastes evolve with time…so, at any given moment two people who could be on the same road, going in the same direction, have different positions on that road..one could be five miles from town seeing one thing and the other could be 20 miles out seeing another…both might disagree on the scenery before their eyes , but both would correctly claim they were on the same road…

    thank you Anon

    cheers, david

  23. This photo raises the bar. As David says, a cut above…

    Now I want to go out and make a stunning shot like this. Thing is, I know that these remarkable pictures are out there, all over the place, all of the time just waiting to be made permanent. But it takes a level of awareness not easily attained to be ready and able to realize such.

    Your image is a stunning achievement, quite frankly.


  24. I would like to buy a print of this at some point. No money at the moment (what’s new) but one day, should this be available, I should like it.


  25. AMANDA,

    The photo shared is quite special but I also thought that you have many other strong photographs in your portfolio. You have a real talent for being there with your subject, sometimes real close and are able to capture a special momemt. You have a very good eye and, like many, I look forward to seeing more of your work here.

    By the way, you have a soft side in you :):):):)…many nice little moments… I really like the kid looking through the windown and the portrait of the black man as well.



  26. David :))

    Amigo, Anon means by ‘YOU RULE’, ‘YOU’RE THE BEST!!’….not ‘you rule’ as in ‘you are the king, your law, you decide’…but as in ‘YOU’RE COOL, YOU’RE GREAT” ;)))

    yes, YOU RULE! ;))))


  27. Guys,Guys…this is a cultural thing. Women around these parts “git ‘er done” so to speak. They hunt, drive rigs, work at the pen, slaughter hogs in the fall, kill chickens for dinner, drive tractors, bulldozers, love and raise families. The exposure to hunting and field dressing is usually at a young age so I don’t particularly find this photo shocking. I guess none of you are too familar with the term “bovine indifference”. You can see that look on the young lady’s face in a Wal-Mart on any Saturday. As the wife says, “Just speak to her and you’ll see how nice and friendly she is”. We’ll leave the light on. Peace and love.

  28. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paejR6Xspm0

    For all who wants to know who is the boss here, the link above is a very nice profile about David’s work including his “street dancing technique” to get the picture done…(by the way David, after all these years working with latin cultures, I think you still have to work a little bit more in your “caderas” movements when you dance)


  29. Great shot, Amanda! There is a complete balance of the tones in the image, such that the blood spill really stand out.

    I enjoyed most of the images in your blog too: there is a sort of dark weightless (a stronger oxymoron is needed here ;) in your way of shooting

  30. Cliff,

    Good comment. And it is the same for cultures around the world. I think we’ve gotten too comfortable in our Safeway/Trader Joe’s society. I sometimes lament the loss of understanding of who we are as a species and from where our food derives. It should not be horrifying or shocking. To watch the likes of a Jaques Pepin make quick work or a chicken or duck, to catch and clean and eat your own trout or catfish, to understand certain South American cultures or Asian cultures and how they create their delicacies… this is beautiful stuff.

    I’m not 100% certain I love the photo but as Charles Peterson said above, it does drawn one in and make you want to explore the greater body of work.

    Good job, Amanda.

  31. panos skoulidas

    I’ll second that Mike K..!!
    “trader Joe’s” society..
    We are all so sensitive all of
    A sudden.. We are all hypocrites..
    We love a double double burger with
    grilled onions but we “hate”
    the butcher..
    Go figure…!

  32. BOB…ANON…

    yes, i know “anon”, but i was reading wrong (fast) and out of context…yes, yes, thanks for the interpretation Bob…that is what you are here for amigo!!!

    cheers, david

  33. CARLOS…

    i have no doubt you are right….but, if i put the camera down (or the beer down), my moves are a bit better..but never never the “real thing”….but Carlos, you know what i love about Latin cultures?? they always make me feel like i am doing just fine!!

    cheers, david

  34. MICHAEL…

    your link up is a totally different film than the youtube piece of Carlos…youtube film was shot in Cuba, the other by BBC in Brazil…

    cheers, david

    p.s. my mistake, Mike you are right…just looked..there IS another one however on youtube from CUBA and i did not know this BBC/NATGEO piece was on youtube…i guess everything is on youtube!!

  35. panos skoulidas

    Paulyman I asked for
    a “free”print already;-))))
    Now you killing me brother…
    peace, hugs and laughs to y’all..

  36. Hey, my man, I ain’t no hypocrite. I don’t like pics of butchering animals & I don’t eat no animals either! It’s not that I’m shocked it’s just that I care too much about animals to eat them. But as I said earlier, I can still see that Amanda’s photo is remarkable.


  37. panos skoulidas

    No, no, no…
    I’m the hypocrite…
    I eat meat but at the same time I
    prosecute the “butcher”..
    Smiling.. Not U..
    And I I could I would ask
    that “butcher” girl out..
    And if I also could I would
    propose to my ex-wife once again..
    Peace, smile and hugs…

  38. panos skoulidas

    … ( tongue on cheek)…
    I’m also a vegetarian…
    I discovered vegetables and soups when
    I lost my first tooth…
    ( laughing )!!!

  39. panos skoulidas

    I love any kinda war because
    it keeps photojournalism
    As profession alive..
    Otherwise Jim Nachtwey and
    Paolo pellegrin they would still
    be truck drivers…
    Peace and wars…

  40. panos skoulidas

    Yes, ok.. Ok..
    I hate war too..
    I also hate going poop every
    day but, I have too..
    It sounds like human nature to me..

  41. panos skoulidas

    Way better than last month..!
    Did I tell U I’m driving all
    the way to Seattle just to see
    where Kurt Cobain and Marc Lanegan
    Hopefully I’ll meet Charles , Katia
    and Tim… and Young Tom aka Tom Hyde…
    I’m excited..
    Can we meet up there!!!
    It’s gonna be sunshine bring your swimsuit!!!

  42. Michael. thanks for the link!…

    David, I was kidding about the “caderas moves” you’re very good!….the trick of lating cultures is to “always celebrate…even if you don’t know what you’re celebrating!”

    un abrazo!

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