As a child I often ate chicken soup and have always loved this soothing liquid even though I think of it also as the essence of the chicken’s body. My father frequently made chicken soup and I remember at one point he began putting several pairs of chicken feet into the pot along with the chicken. The sight of the bright yellow feet was horrific for me, a city child, who understood meat as coming from clean packages from the market, stripped of feather, head and blood. It is the inability to stay in this world of separation that is alarming to me. I cannot help but see the dead animal on my plate instead of just a pork chop. I don’t mean to advocate for vegetarianism, rather I want to say, yes it is a chicken, or a pig, or the fat rendered from the pig’s body. And it is delicious and beautiful and horrible.
Like many I have a complex reaction to the food I eat, especially food derived from the bodies of animals. Today with growing numbers of vegetarians, the conflicts and difficulties which meat eaters experience are rarely expressed. My intention with these images is to look closely at what I eat, while exploring the visual aspects of food as well as explore my own complex feelings about eating both animals and plants. All the pictures came about either before or after I cooked something and when I saw the possibility for a photograph. In other words, the food came first.
Mary Parisi (Pacifica, CA) received her MFA in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2003 and a MA in Sculpture from the San Francisco State University in 1983. She has had solo exhibitions at the Houston Center for Photography, Takada Fine Arts in San Francisco and the Daniel Saxon Gallery in Los Angeles. She has shown internationally in group exhibitions including the Light Factory, Fotobild in Berlin, SF Camerawork, Photo España, St. Mary’s College and the California College of Arts & Crafts among others.