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Moldy matters: How wasted food is destroying the environment

By George Webster 

At first glance, Austrian artist Klaus Pichler's spell-binding photographs could be mistaken for a set of stylish advertisements. It takes a moment to digest -- excuse the pun -- that you're staring at pictures of rotting food.

Among them, a pineapple hangs suspended in negative space above an antique gold dish -- its formerly yellow flesh having given way to luminous green mold; Deep purple beetroots sit snugly in an elegant porcelain vase with thin films of gray fur accumulating on their skin.

The idea is simple: "To expose the contradiction between the beauty of food products -- particularly as presented in the media -- and the ugly reality of overconsumption and waste," explained Pichler.

The title of his new series -- "One Third" -- derives from a 2011 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report. It revealed a chilling statistic: A third of all food products worldwide go uneaten.

Depending on the type of food in question, this figure ranges from between 25% and 75% and, altogether, it amounts to 1.3 billion tons of edible goods discarded each year.

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