David Michael




A Story



In rural Alabama, about an hour outside of Birmingham is a slaughterhouse. It’s a family operation where meat is processed one animal at a time by hand. Mostly custom jobs. A man and his son run the place. They handle most aspects of the daily operations from customer relations to animal processing.

I first visited on a Friday with my wife. We hung out while they cut and packaged a side of beef. They said I could come back on Monday to record the whole process, which I did. On the day I recorded, they processed a head of beef and a young buffalo.

Slaughter is an intensely visual process. Hearing only the sound of the slaughter leaves the mind to fill in almost everything, biased with our own beliefs and preconceptions. While I had intended to make the cow the subject of the recording, it is the young butcher, his father, and the patrons of the slaughterhouse who are at the center of the sound stage.