Mold is Beautiful
Project info

Mold is the archive’s number one enemy. It is a ‘risk factor’ and an ‘agent of deterioration’ to be fought with. In this sense, their creative potential is unjustly neglected and yet since the dawn of time the transformative power of microorganisms has been used to produce wine, beer, bread and cheese.
In a text written in 1856 by Victor Regnault, a chemist and the first president of the French Society of Photography, devoted to researching the stability of the photographic process, he insisted that only time could determine the permanence of a given photographic process. In the same way, time shapes the structure and determines the form of mold.

Created out of neglect and disinterest, these images were damaged by an ancient flood, deprived of light for many years and thus transformed into wonders of oblivion. In the solitude of their confinement, the organic resources used in their photographic process (gelatine and potato starch) provided an ideal breeding ground for random creative proliferation. Today, presented for contemplation, these images remind us how the aesthetic qualities of a photograph are decidedly independent from the artist’s will.

—Luce Lebart