We like portraits of old faces with crow's feet peppering the corners of eyes and deep wrinkles burrowing through cheeks like ancient gorges. Such faces reflect the passage of time, exposure to elements, the environments they've weathered and passed through. For many of the same reasons, we also like Norway-based photographer Christopher Jonassen's images of worn-out frying pans.
Collected in the Devour series, the photographs resemble planets seen from satellites. The pans have been blasted with the fat that burbled from a few hundred steak dinners, cleaned poorly or simply on too many occasions; their fissured surfaces, rust spots and scratches call to mind craters, mountains and lakes.
On his website, Jonassen includes a Sartre quote: “To eat is to appropriate by destruction.”
We have a flight to catch (and a few presents still to buy), so we can't spend all night sorting through that one, but we'll take a crack at it. A frying pan is an instrument; it helps a cook transform ingredients into food that can be eaten. As food is repurposed by heat, technique, and our bodies, the process also taxes the instrument. It ages, develops character, decays and eventually becomes less useful than it once was — sort of like a person or a planet, both of which can overheat.
[Editor's note: If you're upgrading your frying pan situation this weekend, maybe consider taking pictures of the old ones before repurposing them. Or sending them to Norway.]