One characteristic of photography is its ability to freeze a moment in time, and by doing so photographs give us an even greater sense of the passage of time. Take one look at old family photos and you can see how we all change over time. This project can help you notice the change in a simple object (bread) over just a short amount of time (one to two weeks) and to observe the power of photography to mark time.
One slice of bread
A clear container with a lid (big glass jars, clear plastic containers or a large Ziploc® bag work great, just make sure you can see detail through the container)
One cotton swab
One to two weeks (molds grow best in warm, dark and moist conditions, storing the bread in this type of environment will speed up the project)
- Take a piece of bread (it can be a few days old, but make sure that it isn’t too stale) and place it in the clear container in a place where it is out of the way and won’t get knocked around, but where there is enough natural light that you can photograph it every day without a flash. Cut the bread to fit if necessary.
FACT: Mold is a fungus that grows on grains, fruits and vegetables. Mold begins as a tiny spore that lands on a food source like bread. Spores can be found in the air, on the ground and on you.
- Encourage mold to grow:
a) Collect some dust on a cotton swab.
b) Rub dust from cotton swab onto bread.
c) Put five or six drops of water on bread.
This step can be done first if it is too difficult to reach into the container with the cotton swab.
- Put the lid on the container and tape around the edge of the lid to seal it. You may want to label the container so that no one will throw it away.
NOTE: Some people are allergic to molds. If this is a concern, do not open the container or even reuse it.
- Photograph the bread at the same time and from the same place every day. For the first two or three days, you probably won’t see much. But soon you should see evidence of mold growing.
TIPS: If possible use a tripod or mark the place that you stood so that you know where to stand the next day. When photographing the bread (especially if it is in glass or plastic) do not use a flash (or you will not be able to see the bread) and stand far enough back that the camera will focus on the bread, but close enough that you can see it).
- Once the bread has been overtaken by mold and you can’t stand the look of it, or you run out of film, print the pictures.
- Arrange the photographs in a line to see how the bread changed over time.
SUGGESTION: Take this a step further. Take a photograph two or three times a day and when done, assemble all of the photographs into a flip book to see even more clearly the affect of mold on the bread.
MORE IDEAS: Other ways to document change by using photography: photograph a fast growing seedling or use an avocado pit or potato, photograph the same location in your yard every hour on the hour to see how the light changes the appearance (best on a sunny day).