Photos: Christopher Jonassen's Celestial Frying Pans Photos: Christopher Jonassen's Celestial Frying Pans Photos: Christopher Jonassen's Celestial Frying Pans Photos: Christopher Jonassen's Celestial Frying Pans
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Photos: Christopher Jonassen's Celestial Frying Pans Photos: Christopher Jonassen's Celestial Frying Pans

by Peter Smith

July 9, 2011
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Christopher Jonassen is a Norwegian photographer whose latest book examines the incredible universe of scratches found on the bottoms of frying pans. He shoots the familiar kitchen tools against a black background, transforming them into images of planetary ruin or collapse. I spoke with him via email.

GOOD: When did you first find one of these and say, "That looks like something I want to photograph?"

Christopher Jonassen: 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. It fascinated me to see how everyday life was wearing out the metal of the frying pans, one tiny scratch at a time.

GOOD: They look more like celestial objects than cooking utensils.

Jonassen: Yes, this is part of the idea, to create a link between the tiny marks we leave behind everyday to the enormous impact this adds up to over time. I am very concerned about the way we are treating this planet. Also, I think its important to notice the beauty in the small things we surround ourselves with everyday.

GOOD: How did you go about collecting pans?

Jonassen: I asked my friends and family, digging around in cellars and in attics. It was surprising to see how many frying pans are being stored after they are no longer usable for cooking. Why would anyone do that? I got access to the winter storage of cooking supplies for the local scouts. Those where probably the best ones. They bring out big iron pans and put them directly into open fire out in the woods. Heavy iron pans, burnt black and scraped with knives.

GOOD: So would you ever use them to cook?

Jonassen: I wouldn't recommend using these pans for cooking. When I do cook, I cook with raw and fresh ingredients. I think this is key for a healthy diet. And I try to buy local whenever it's possible.

All photographs courtesy of Christopher Jonassen (via FNS)

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Photos: Christopher Jonassen's Celestial Frying Pans Photos: Christopher Jonassen's Celestial Frying Pans