My summer was engulfed by the harrowing experience of documenting life at the Oaxaca slaughterhouse. This facility operated in two grueling shifts, one dedicated to processing pigs and the other to handling cows. To truly encapsulate the essence of this process, my days began at the crack of dawn, as early as 1 am, for the porcine shift, and around 9 am for the bovine one. The workforce was predominantly male, with the exception of a lone female clerk who played a vital role amidst the grim atmosphere. Their lives were marked by relentless toil, an unceasing and morbid conveyor belt of life to death.
As I revisit these haunting images, there's one face that remains etched in my memory: Pablo. He was just a boy, barely 12 years old, and yet he was fully immersed in the grueling work of the slaughterhouse. His sweater was perpetually adorned with pig hair, and he probably weighed no more than 105 pounds. What struck me was that his father worked right alongside him, highlighting the continuity of a job passed down through generations.
Will Pablo's son, I often wonder, follow in their footsteps and carry on this generational legacy of laboring in the heart of the slaughterhouse? The photos I captured tell a story of resilience, labor, and the enduring connection between generations bound by this demanding and deeply ingrained way of life. The stark contrast between the innocence of youth and the brutality of the slaughterhouse serves as a stark reminder of the complex web of life, labor, and tradition that shapes these lives and the legacy they pass on.