Eric Bessel - I'll Be Your Father

Eric Bessel - I'll Be Your Father

2.17.12 - 3.31.12

Eric Bessel's newest series of photographs, titled I'll Be Your Father, consist of a series of (15) Kombucha "mother" portraits grown by Bessel over a one year period.


I’ll Be Your Father is a selection of recent photographs, which explore the curious produce from a home-grown kombucha farm in my Brooklyn apartment. Over the course of a year, I played host to a family of enormous parasitic ‘mothers,’ most commonly found dormant in refrigerated bottles of store-bought kombucha. I discovered that a mother left at room temperature, along with some sweet tea, comes alive. As part of this transformative process, a miracle vitamin elixir is left behind.

Finding myself hooked, I set out determined to become a suitable host. In what seemed like no time at all, my kitchen cupboard’s shelves began to resemble a vitrine filled with jars of new kombucha mothers at various stages of development. On weekend mornings, I photographed this growing family, as eastern light flooded into my kitchen.

-Eric Bessel


  • All (15), I'll Be Your Father, photographs will be available individually as 20" x 20" C-Prints in signed and numbered editions of (3).
  • (50) boxed sets of the entire series will be available. The boxed series will include all (15) C-Type 'mother' portraits at 8" x 8" along with a pair of cotton white gloves, archival separating sheets, and a titled, signed, and numbered archival presentation box. 
  • A catalog featuring all (15) portraits, an artist statement by Eric Bessel and essays by Jordan Witkov and Kenneth White will supplement the exhibition.


When Eric Bessel first approached me about a new series of photographs that he was working on, documenting his year as a Brooklyn apartment kombucha farmer, I was intrigued but had no idea what to expect.

Wrinkled, gum-like, highly textured, pitted, plastic sheen studies – is what Bessel delivered with his series of 15 kombucha ‘mother’ cultures, playfully titled, I’ll Be Your Father.

Cycling through the series, the ‘mother’ cultures evolve both in complexity of form and intensity of color. The earliest pieces in the series are waxy, smooth, and milky in color. As the series progresses, the subjects take on more textural depth with roadways of veins, crevasses, and channels and a rich rusted red color.

While this series is a departure from Bessel’s character study portraits, looking at “I’ll Be Your Father” it is hard not to get lost in the expression of each individual bacterial subject. As you search deeper into each piece they can take on the appearance of exaggerated human-like masks that are filled with expression. I’ll Be Your Father serves as a brief record of Bessel’s life, giving insight to his homeopathic hobby and documentary process. As a curated series, the grouping provides a wonderful textural examination of organic growth, while individually each ‘mother’ has the personality and character of Bessel’s human portraits.

-Jordan Witkov Director, 360SEE

For advanced viewings of any of the pieces, press images, or other questions please contact 360SEE.

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