At this point, we’ve seen so many stunning images of space that it can be hard to get excited about new ones. We have pictures of nebula, thousands of light years away, a distance too vast for us to really conceive, that make the things look like they’re within arm’s reach. Closer celestial bodies, like the planets in our solar system, have been revealed to us at even higher resolutions. And yet, something about these particular photographs grabs your attention. They’re perfectly framed. They’re packed with crisp detail. They’re also not at all what they appear to be.
The photos come from a series called Devour, by Norwegian photographer Christopher Jonassen. They show the bottoms of frying pans. Not frying pans from Mars. Just regular frying pans.
In an interview with Good, Jonassen explains how the idea was born during his time studying abroad in Australia, when he was renting a banged-up student house full of banged-up pots and pans. He became fascinated by the patterns and patinas on their bottoms, and eventually solicited friends and family for their old cookware. A storage space that held cooking supplies for local boy scouts was a particularly good find, he says. Cooking over a campfire gives a pan plenty of personality.
While shooting, Jonassen used oil and other liquids to bring out some terrestrial detail in each piece. The black backgrounds against which the pans are set only add to the planetary illusion. But for the artist, the project isn’t merely about one thing that happens to look like another. There’s a poignant connection between the two subjects, the real and the perceived. “Part of the idea,” he tells Good, is to “create a link between the tiny marks we leave behind every day to the enormous impact this adds up to over time. I am very concerned about the way we are treating this planet.” Presumably less so about how we’re treating our cookware.
[Hat tip: Ignant]