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Exposure

These Close-Up Shots Of Kitchen Mold Are Oddly Appealing

Yet not at all appetizing.

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It began with a pot of spaghetti. Nikita Teryoshin and Max Slobodda, German photography students who have been roommates for three and a half years, discovered forgotten leftovers on their balcony—looking a good bit different from when they last saw them. "It was blue, yellow, and sweating," says Teryoshin. Nevertheless, "we were fascinated of its visual appearance, so before throwing the moldy spaghetti away, we took some pictures of it as a joke. After seeing the results, we decided to continue our documentation of things which once disgusted us."

Their photo series Küchendienst ("kitchen patrol") has grown, as have the number of questionable substances found in their kitchen. In one photo, electric blue mold folds over itself like a fuzzy winter blanket; in another, a hard and slimy nudish-pink substance resembles the inside of a sea creature. Others look like aerial shots of some yet-to-be-discovered exoplanet. Shot close enough to catch vivid colors and strange new textures, the series is an exercise in seeing things differently.

To get the shots, Teryoshin and Slobodda used macro lenses and bright lights to make the colors pop. And, yes, Teryoshin assures me, all of the mold was accidental—none of it was staged or grown for the project. "It is not like we would find something new every day, there are weeks or even months between each picture," he says. Still, he admits, maybe their kitchen could stand to be kept a bit cleaner. "In this way, we are great sinners, so our project could be seen as a diary of bad conscience."

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