Eating Away delves deep into repressed memories and emotions that were unconsciously surfacing during the creation of the work. A reluctance to open up would eventually lead Mahtola to work alongside a grief counsellor, where, for the first time in over 30 years he would begin to address a lifelong and complex understanding of death, examine it, and eventually repackage it with a forever transformed perspective.
Eating Away is subtly pulled towards food, consumption and survival, moving beyond its qualities of sustenance and nutrition. It links foods relationship to mental and physical wellbeing, and the cycle of life and death. It also aims to highlight the stigma surrounding depression in young men, and the obstacles that exist when finally the time comes to speak out.
In contrast to the ubiquitous fake, forged food imagery seen in advertising, designed to ignite the pleasure senses and sell unrealistic ideals of health and happiness, Eating Away is personal, challenging and difficult to digest.
What started out as a painfully morbid experience is transformed thanks to the therapeutic power of photography and is now one of acceptance. Acceptance of the inevitability of death and a quiet reminder that one day we all return back to the earth.