A photographer's art through meat

FISHTOWN - October 16, 2012

Dominic Episcopo is in demand as a commercial photographer, and many area businesses use him for their advertising. But when he's not doing that, he's playing with his food...and his cameras.

Episcopo started taking photos of meat a few years ago. He saw a red silhouette of the United States on a newscast and thought it looked like it was made out of meat. So he carved the country out of a rib eye steak and hasn't stopped since.

He says coastal states are most interesting, while those in mid-America are uninteresting rectangles. So he hasn't done every state. Nor does he use beef exclusively, although it's often his medium of choice. He did Louisiana in alligator meat and Alaska in caribou. He did a bust of Michael Jackson in calves' liver because he liked the color, but found the texture hard to shape.

He did the Liberty Bell in...What else? Philadelphia scrapple. Episcopo also does text in meat. He has a set of molds for each letter of the alphabet and just slices away until he gets what he envisions. His unique art is also a no-waste process. After its moment before the lens, what he fashions becomes his family's dinner.

His images may be seen online at Meat America. His forthcoming book of images will be sold there as well as on other websites and in stores.

Episcopo thinks his photos would be ideal decor for a restaurant or butcher shop. So far, British chef Gordon Ramsey has purchased some images for a restaurant overseas. But, to his knowledge, no one has yet used Episcopo's images domestically. He's hoping someone will soon.

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