Meat – the art of the cool room

Augusto De Romanis and me in front of the Five Dock Meat Market, Sydney

Several years ago, while I was working on a photographic project exploring the subject of “meat” and butchery, I was introduced to Gus, the proprietor of the Five Dock Meat Market. Graciously Gus not only allowed me to organise a photographic shoot at his premises, but he also became an integral part of my series by agreeing to play the role of the gourmet butcher, a role for which he was more than qualified. With a sense of humour, he lent an air of professional authenticity to my surreal imagery.

John McRae, Gus, 2012 Finalist in the 2013 Head On Portrait Prize, State Library, Sydney

Happily some of the resulting photographs from the shoot reached critical acclaim – one was selected as a finalist in the 2013 Head On Portrait Prize and another was a finalist in the Blake Prize, a national competition for spiritual and religious art.

John McRae, Meat, 2012 Finalist in the 2012 Blake Prize, S&H Ervin Gallery, Sydney

Nine years on, I visited Five Dock and dropped in to say hi to Gus. He greeted me with the warmest of Italian welcomes. I even bought a whole rabbit to cook later at home based on a traditional Maltese recipe.

From the series Meat, 2012