The Mystical Origins of Fruit and Vegetables

Horned Melon, Secret Lives, Courtesy of Maciek Jasik
Horned Melon, Secret Lives, Courtesy of Maciek Jasik
Maxence Effantin

Photographer Maciek Jasik has made the relationship between nature and society the primary focus of his art. In a series titled Secret Lives,the photographer attempts to revive the mystique of fruits and vegetables, as well as their inherent aesthetic power. Here’s the scoop on his fascinating new project:

Mango, Secret Lives, Courtesy of Maciek Jasik

When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?
I didn’t start photographing until I moved to Japan in 2003. I was inspired to document how visually different Japan was. I worked during the week as an English teacher and traveled around every weekend. I just did street photography at first, but gradually began to try new things, mostly very badly. But I couldn’t stop shooting. And this relentless interest and passion didn’t abate, year after year. When I moved to NYC in 2006, I knew it was a permanent affliction.

Sumo Citrus, Secret Lives, Courtesy of Maciek Jasik

What inspired ‘The Secret Lives of Fruits and Vegetables’?
I began working on ‘The Secret Lives’ as a visual experiment, to see how it would look to have smoke pouring out of a fruit. But once I saw the process, I realized how I could reinvent each fruit with this process. And each one could become an alien, or a monster, or a flower. Through researching online, I read how many cultures had deep relationships with certain fruits and vegetables. And this wasn’t just nutrition or taste, but it was medical or spiritual. So I saw how I could combine the past mystical elements of these fruits with a visual approach that reinvented these fruits for our modern world.
‘Secret Lives’ almost portrays fruits and vegetables as human-beings. Why this embodiment?
When I began to find ways of allowing the smoke to escape the fruits, I noticed how easily the fruit could look like a human head. So I played with that idea, giving the fruits a slight impression of having a mouth or eyes, while still maintaining the overall nature of the fruit. This allowed the images to appear sometimes alien or deformed, which gave a much stronger representation of the fruit and its spiritual self.

Carnival Squash, Secret Lives, Courtesy of Maciek Jasik

Is there an ecological message in your work?

Science has become its own religion in the modern world. People accept science as fact and if you doubt those results, you’re considered backward. But unfortunately, science has made many mistakes over the years and come to conclusions based on limited information. The first baby formulas led to death, as they didn’t contain vitamins and minerals that exist in breast milk. The scientists didn’t know about them. So the question becomes, what do we not know that we don’t know? And there’s much we don’t know about how nutrition is transferred from the soil to fruits and vegetables. But by assuming that we do know, we make it impossible to understand that the truth may be deeper and stranger than we initially thought.

Watermelon, Secret Lives, Courtesy of Maciek Jasik

What can we expect from you in the future?
I will be making music videos in the near future. Two from the band girlyboi and one for Ariana and the Rose.

Horned Melon, Secret Lives, Courtesy of Maciek Jasik

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