Rotten: See Photos Capturing the Strange Beauty of Decaying Food


In an effort to waste less food, photographer Joe Buglewicz spent a year shooting the decaying fruits and vegetables he found in his own fridge for his photo series Rotten. The images, a gritty but surprisingly glamorous display of Buglewicz’s dejected produce and forgotten sandwiches, speak to the nature of our quick buying and “hopelessly wasteful culture.” But will viewing a work of repulsive neglect make you a more considerate consumer?

Buglewicz hopes it will.

He shares his initial inspiration with Fast Co, saying: “It just started off more as a personal motivation to waste less food around the apartment. But over time, I started reading more about food waste in the U.S., and the numbers kind of floored me.”

The work seems particularly well-suited for this superbly indulgent time of year where food consumption can lean toward the excessively grotesque. Not even a week after Thanksgiving, I already have remnants of a once grand meal withering into putrid filth in the dark corners of my fridge. Am I alone in my irresponsibility? Not according to Buglewicz, who notes that, “None of the food in the images was intentionally left to go bad, so it was all just a matter of circumstance. . . . Once every few weeks, the fridge would provide me with a few subjects. I would open the door, smell something disgusting and start rooting through to find the culprit.”

Slightly shocking, heartbreaking, and foul, the work serves to remind viewers of the natural tendency to consume and neglect, which is a particularly solid message during the holiday season. [FastCo via Food52]