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Still-Lifes of the Bottoms of Old Frying Pans

bottom of red frying pan

Some of the most mundane objects can turn out to look rather profound; it’s just a matter of perspective. This was the discovery of Norwegian photographer Christopher Jonassen, who found other worldly images right in his kitchen. Calling it Devour, Christopher uncovered a vast universe of planet like worlds in the humble bottoms of our everyday frying pans. The project started in 2003, as he embarked to photograph everyday kitchenware.

droplets on bottom of frying pan

“When I was studying abroad in Australia, I lived in a cheap share house with some friends, and the cooking utensils were banged up in a pretty bad way,” recalls Christopher. It was here that he began to favor taking photos of the frying pan. For him, the pans represent “the repetitive and mundane actions we do every day.”

bottom of blue frying pan

Now hooked on the subject, he began to look for pans from almost everywhere, from both friends and relatives, but what he found most fascinating were pans from the local Boy Scouts troop. They had big iron pans that were placed directly over open fires in the woods during camps. These heavy iron pans would be burnt black, and would be scraped with knives, leading quite a rustic existence. He has shot several hundred other pans over the years and still does to this day. He sometimes rubs oil to enhance textures and uses lighting techniques and Photoshop enhancement to create drama.

bottom of frying pan looks like globe

“I think it’s important to notice the beauty in the small things we surround ourselves with everyday,” philosophizes Christopher. One of the most remarkable outcomes of Devour is how the pictures metamorphosed unintentionally into eerie planet looking globes. What began as an ode to the ordinary and commonplace had turned into a weighty and truthful reflection of our aging world.

bottom of blue frying pan with gold

Lamentably just like earth, Christopher observed “how everyday life was wearing out the metal of the pans, one tiny scratch at a time.” He wanted to draw a parallelism, “a link between the small traces we leave behind every day, and the enormous impact this adds up to over time. I am very concerned about the way we are treating this planet. The title also reflects this. Devour means to eat up greedily; to destroy, consume and waste; to prey upon voraciously.” It takes an exceptionally insightful and reflective man to see a link between a banged up metal pan and a much abused world.

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Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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