A photographer left three cigarettes in a mason jar filled with soil for an entire year — taking a timelapse video to show what happens to them.
Photo Owl Time Lapse posted the video to YouTube on July 15 where it has received over 4.2 million views and counting.
“You guys really liked my in-soil timelapses, so I decided to do another one,” writes the photographer. “This time I put the cigarettes in a mason jar full of soil and left it in there for a whole year. Underground timelapse.”
The expertly produced video shows the fresh cigarette succumbing to the soil. It is not a slow process — barely two hours pass before the cigarette is already showing signs of moisture and damage. After eight hours, the cigarette is completely saturated and after the first day, it is already falling apart.
Zooming out to show all three cigarettes, they are becoming more like spores; disappearing in front of the viewer’s eyes after 20 days.
By day 100, the tobacco has evaporated (or more likely been eaten by the organisms living in the soil) and the paper has also come off the filter.
As the timelapse project approaches 200 days, more green moss has appeared in the mason jar and the cigarettes are no longer obviously cigarettes anymore.
By day 300, the cigarette is virtually gone with only the filters remaining visible. At the end of the video, Photo Owl Time Lapse pours the contents of the mason jar out to reveal that all that is left of the cigarettes are their filters.
The photographer looks for traces of the tobacco and paper but all he finds is the filters — nothing else.
The comment section is full of praise for the photographer.
“I’m an organic soil farmer. I don’t cultivate plants. I cultivate the soil and it does the rest,” explains one person.
“I knew the cigarette would go back to soil eventually. It’s amazing how much and how quickly the soil will eat. Most people don’t see soil as a living [entity]. You couldn’t count the amount of life in one spoonful of rich soil.”
“This really shows how many little living things there really are in the soil,” adds another.
Image credits: Photo Owl Time Lapse.