The Amazing Results of Putting a Light Inside Fruits and Vegetables

Romanian photographer Radu Zaciu makes these farmers’ market foods glow from within

Lettuce Radu Zaciu
Strawberry Radu Zaciu
Cantaloupe Radu Zaciu
Pineapple Radu Zaciu
Cauliflower close-up Radu Zaciu
A cauliflower smolders with apocalyptic doom. Radu Zaciu
Pear Radu Zaciu
Kiwi hairs Radu Zaciu
Christmas melon Radu Zaciu
Dragon fruit Radu Zaciu
Germinated potato Radu Zaciu

Romanian-born photographer Radu Zaciu usually takes photos of people and places, but every now and then he has a different idea. Zaciu spent several years in Germany, where he learned that the German word for light bulb, glühbirne, translates to "glowing pear." So, in a play on words, Zaciu decided that he would make a pear glow.

This led him to experiment with light inside all manner of fruits and vegetables. He set to work in his kitchen carving everything from pineapples to kiwis to potatoes, and thus his surreal series “The Light Inside” was born. Zaciu came to realize that each fruit and vegetable emits light differently. The trick is not to carve too little or too much, he says, and the best results occur when the light source is placed at the center of the produce.

He finds that the rougher the surface, the more interesting the photo. “If the surface of the fruit is very smooth, then if doesn't look so great,” he says with a laugh. “Take a bell pepper...or an onion. I've tried many.”

At a young age, around the same time that he learned how to use a camera, Zaciu became interested in speleology, the scientific study and exploration of caves, and would bring his equipment with him on expeditions. Moving to a digital camera a few years ago opened up a world of opportunities, he says.

This is Zaciu’s first time working with organic material as a photographer, and he keeps adding pieces to the series—a recent vacation to Vietnam introduced the dragon fruit to his portfolio. Next on his list? A really big head of broccoli.

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