Discovering New Worlds

Photography has this incredible breadth to it. Photographs have been made of everything from DNA and microorganisms to stars, galaxies and nebulas. Pictures have come back to us from the farthest reaches of space and the depths of the ocean, from high above us and deep underground. What photography is also fantastic at is using that available breadth it has to trick your sense of scale… and that can result in surprising and wonderful images.

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Christopher Jonassen made these monumental, otherworldly images. They look like far-away planets, something possibly sent back to us from the Hubble telescope from the edge of the milky way.

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What are these alien worlds? They are photographs of time-worn skillets by the Norway based artist in his project DevourThe darkness surrounding the cookware, and the organically created pattern of wear and dimpling on the skillet, really do resemble those far-away worlds. It’s not just the chance and coincidence of the scratches and tears and divots, but whatever clicked in Jonassen’s mind that said “well doesn’t that look like some extraterrestrial moon…” which is really what I think inspiration is, that culmination of chance and the spontaneous semantic connections of the human mind.

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Heikki Leis stumbled upon these otherworldly landscapes in another organically created, kitchen related discovery. She is an Estonian artist who, after leaving potatoes in a bowl for too long, was inspired to take unbelievably beautiful photographs of molds. The variety of color and textures in the molds makes the original foodstuffs unrecognizable, and places the viewer in a moist, surreal landscape. The use here of a black background plays a similar role as it did in Jonassen’s images, allowing a suspension of the viewers’ normal way of understanding the world. We can then slip into the world’s they’ve discovered and shared so beautifully with us.

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–Kathy Akey

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