From bioremediation to mycotecture to just plain tasting good, mushrooms may just very well save the world. Yet, there are still some lingering misconceptions and fears about mushrooms in the general public, probably thanks to the innate human distrust of any organism that seems so otherworldly as the humble mushroom.
Australian photographer Steve Axford has made it his life mission to track down and document some of the world's rarest organisms, mushrooms included. He's garnered an online following for his captivating images, many of which were taken in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales in Australia and also in other remote places around the world. Axford is also trying his hand now at making videos of his discoveries.
According to This Is Colossal, Axford's exquisite mushroom images come from places like Victoria and Tasmania, showing a breathtaking diversity of sub-tropical and temperate mycological species, christened with names like "Hairy Mycena" and "blue leratiomyces." Says Axford:
I am now a retired person, which means I can do much more of what I like. What I like is photography and exploring the world. The world, for me, is dominated by living things and the planet we live on . My photography is an avenue into exploring this world. My interests cover everything from micro fungi to volcanoes, though more of my time now is spent with the fungi than the volcanoes.
I live in the Northern Rivers area of NSW in Australia. This was once a huge area of uninterrupted lowland, subtropical rainforest and I have a little piece of it to look after and restore to the best of my ability. It is very rewarding and the native plants, animals, birds, and fungi love it. While doing this I have developed an acute interest in the way things fit together (the ecology). Nothing exists in isolation and the more you look, the more you find. Oddly enough, this fits with what I used to work at, as a designer and manager of large computer systems. Although the world is a far more complex than any man made computer system, the rules learnt with one can be applied to the other.
Unassuming yet beautiful, there is a lot to learn from fungi. Axford's close-ups of these biological wonders are simply magical, offering us a irresistible glimpse into the secret world of mushrooms, a breath of fresh mental air. To see more, check out Steve Axford's Flickr and SmugMug pages.