PHOTOGRAPHY and DESIGN - Tarah Rider Berry

WARNING! Contains graphic imagery that may be upsetting to some viewers.

Animal Rites

Project Description

Work produced in part from a grant from AZ Commission on the Arts

Families and their use of and connection to animals... as a part of heritage, ritual and tradition. This project also has deep connections to celebration and holidays.

These photographs were taken with the cooperation of families in South Phoenix, AZ Many people still raise their own animals for food






Slaughter Days


"Pig Head"


"Making Chicharrones"




"Headless Chickens"

turkey head



"Ram Skin"

skinned goat head

bag of sheep heads


Additional Notes Concerning this work

The "Animal Rites" project was always meant to fundamentally place the concept of celebration at it's core. Preparation for special events is a process that everyone understands. Families, children, customs, rituals, and food are all elements of this process.

The animals I have known are well kept, live good lives and never know when they are "finished". Raising animals at home is not economical but families enjoy the animals' company and their daily care. They can assure the animals' happiness and their quality of life and, in the end, the family knows exactly what they are eating. This practice is particularly significant when seen against the backdrop of the downtown center of Phoenix which is only minutes away by car.

I hope that the selected images from this project are rich in many ways. They are meant to evoke thoughts concerning life and death, visceral and pure color, fundamental emotional response, beauty and body and the forced co-existence of modern urban life and deeply held traditions and values.


See also...


South Mountain Studios
6212 S. 8th Place
Phoenix, AZ 85042

(602) 505-3957

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