Offbeat
MOLD

By Jack Williams


These otherworldly images celebrate the beauty of what is seen by most as a disgusting substance: MOLD.

PIC BY HEIKKI LEIS / CATERS

The works in Heikki Leis’ recently-released book, “Afterlife,” show the fuzzy fungus growing on the likes of head sculptures, prominent symbols and pop culture references.

Through even closer shots, Heikki also shows the intricate makeup of mold, which l

PIC BY HEIKKI LEIS / CATERS

ooks more like an alien planet than something that grows on rotting food.

To create his works, Heikki – who lives in Tartu, Estonia – boils different shaped vegetables before leaving them under a variety of covers.

PIC BY HEIKKI LEIS / CATERS

It helps if the room is cool and dark, Heikki said, and once he has grown a suitable amount of mold on the likes of turnips, beetroots and potatos, the photographer uses a small torch to illuminate the objects from different angles, so that they have a mystifying air about them.

The idea for this unique series came to Heikki, 43, when he was in Ireland 12 years ago.

PIC BY HEIKKI LEIS / CATERS

Having left a number of boiled potatoes in a pot, he later discovered the vegetables with mold on them and was intrigued by the textures and colours that had developed.

The release of his book this month seemed like a suitable point to end a project that has gained widespread attention throughout the years, Heikki said.

PIC BY HEIKKI LEIS / CATERS

In the future, the photographer is open to working on mold creations in countries away from Estonia – just to see if the environments alter the colours and textures in any way.

Heikki said: “Most people are astonished by the beauty of molds.

PIC BY HEIKKI LEIS / CATERS

“It can also evoke disgust in some people, but that only adds to the experience.

“Overall most of the feedback has been very positive.”