Of all the animal photography I see, there’s very little that focuses on food production. And if you introduced to me a photography series saying that it exposes how animals are raised and prepared for food, I would immediately brace myself for gruesome images of animals being mistreated or dying prolonged, painful deaths. However, Henk Wildschut’s series about the food industry in the Netherlands presents something surprisingly different. While working on this impressively well-researched and -executed project, Wildschut’s own preconceptions about food production were challenged as well. Many of the images in the series are accompanied by such interesting and informative text explaining what makes the treatment of animals for food in the Netherlands quite different from that in, say, the US.

From the artist’s statement: Few subjects generate as much discussion as the subject of food. Such discussion is increasingly marked by suspicion and pessimism about how our food is produced. Two years ago, when I was asked to make an in-depth study of the subject of Food for de RijksMuseum in Amsterdam, I was full of preconceptions about the food industry. I saw it as dishonest, unhealthy and unethical. More than that, it was contributing to the decline of our planet, unlike in the good old days, and I felt that the magic word ‘organic’ was going to solve everything. So when I embarked on this project, my first impulsive reaction was to bring to light all the misunderstandings about food once and for all.

After two years of research and photography I realized that the discourse on food production can be infinitely refined and that this often puts supposed advantages and disadvantages in a new light. Scaling-up can actually enhance animal welfare, for example, and organic production is not always better for the environment. Often, an excessively one-sided approach to the subject of food is a barrier to real solutions. Food is simply too wide-ranging and complex a subject for one-liners or to be describing in terms of black and white.

Visit artist's site: henkwildschut.com

Found via: Feature Shoot