Honest’ photography draws attention

Upon walking from the third to fourth floor of the Davis Center on Wednesday, March 23, many passersby were stopped in their tracks by a series of back-lit blown-up photos of butchers and their more-than-slightly grotesque work.   The photo series “Meat” was displayed by photographer and senior Bobby Bruderle, along with the series “Costume,” together making up his two day exhibit, “Honest.” The “Meat” series exhibited a surprising delicacy on what many would normally find repulsive. One picture displayed the scarred and dirtied hand of a butcher, another an honest but intimidating image of a butcher smoking a cigarette. However, all attention often seemed to be focused on the center image, which drew the strongest reactions from passersby: a picture of a pig’s head hanging on a hook against the same stark white background as all the images in the series. “Oh my god, these are awesome,” one woman said as she stopped to stare at the “Meat” display. “That is disgusting,” another said shortly after, quickly passing the exhibit by. “It’s just really interesting to hear people’s responses,” Bruderle said. The stairwell location proved to be both a boon and a curse for Bruderle. While it didn’t prove the most intimate gallery style setting, the draw of his photography had many just passing through stopping to admire, or criticize, his work.    Bruderle found inspiration for the series when he studied abroad for a year in London, he said. With butchers throughout England being closed down in favor of larger, wholesale businesses, Bruderle felt compelled to capture what may be a dying breed. “I think the artistic part aside, photos give you an excuse and emotive to do anything you want to,” Bruderle said. “I thought it was super interesting to go to into a butcher shop, but without that pretense I wouldn’t have been able to get so in depth.” In contrast to the white backgrounds of “Meat,” the “Costume” series depicted intimate close-ups of costumed individuals against pitch black.   “It would be easy to write off Halloween costumes as nothing more than part of a holiday,” the artist statement said, introducing the series. People in costume, according to Bruderle, show more of themselves than they would on a day-to-day basis. “I try to get photos of people that show something honest about them, or [something] that wouldn’t normally show,” he said. “I’m just extremely fascinated by people.” Whether people found the exhibit aesthetically pleasing or not, it managed to garner attention and criticism, which is a good signifier of a successful exhibition.