Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me, guided me, hosted me, and welcomed me this past year. It has been a pleasure to meet the mycological community in its many forms.
|One of David's fungi luminograms, commissioned to promote a perfume line called "Death, Decay, and Renewal" (LUSH, Gorilla Perfumes). See more of David's work on his website, davidrobinson.org|
|David makes temporary sculptures from the mushrooms he cooks before they head to the pot. You can find more of these curious creatures on his instagram (@sporeboys) and twitter|
|I found the SporeBoys stand at the Broadway market on a slightly hungover Saturday afternoon. The rich mushroom risotto was a lovely treat that helped on the transition to feeling like a human again (thanks, David)|
|An image from "The Mushroom Picker," a children's book that follows the tale of a porcini's great escape from a ruthless mushroom hunter, illustrated with "fungi luminograms"|
How long have you been making the mushroom luminograms? What led you to make them? What is your process? Do you add the color-shading in after exposure?
Since 2010. I was suffering a slight creative depression prior to then - I had a small child and a mortgage, and Sporeboys had taken over my life. One day I found myself in my studio surrounded my pots/pans/gas burners and MUSHROOMS! I started writing a children's book about a mushroom that escaped The Mushroom Picker...I think I needed an escape too!I create negatives using mushrooms in the darkroom and shine light through each little sculpture onto photographic paper. The colours come from the intrinsic hue of each particular mushroom coupled with coloured filters covering the light source.
|David tends the risotto. "The Mushroom Picker" is available at a very reasonable price at the SporeBoys stand, and you can purchase it from the publisher ($15+ shipping) or Amazon.com (~$20+shipping)|
|Make your own mushroom sculptures and dishes with fancy mushrooms available at the stand!|
|Photos of David's work are from his instagram and website, used with permission|
|Cultures growing from plant tissue [photo - J. Hulbert]|
|The post-sampling haul [photo - J. Hulbert}|
|Paul Cannon (RGB Kew mycology dept) photographs Xenotypa aterrima during a survey for Dencoeliopsis johnstonii, a small discoid fungus that grows on/with X. aterrima.|
|Brian Douglas (project coordinator) inspects a fungarium specimen of an Ustilago species.|
|The historical collections of Hypocreopsis lichenoides. The fungarium (fungal herbarium) at RGB Kew is the largest in the world and contains thousands upon thousands of collections representing species from around the globe. Each preserved and documented specimen is a unique historical record. Some contain photographs, microscope slides, handwritten letters. The red folder indicates the specimen contained within may be the "type specimen," the collection from which the original species description is derived.|
I saw a few mushrooms as well, but these were pretty sparse. I never found the gasteroid fungus below in a mature state, and I'm not sure of its identity.
|immature Phellorinia sp?. near camp (Thanks Scott for suggesting Phellorinia)|
|Cynomorium coccineum in a dry river valley.|
|The base of this flowering structure was attached to a pale thin taproot, which I followed to the succulent shrub (Atriplex sp.?) at right. Unfortunately, the taproot was somewhat brittle and broke during excavation. These plants don't photosynthesize, and instead harvest nutrients from the host shrub, a lifestyle known as holoparasitism.|
|These were found in nearly all shrubby desert areas we visited.|
The phylogeny of these plants is uncertain, largely because some of the genetic markers commonly used to analyze the the relationships between different taxa affiliate with conflicting lineages--one suggests Cynomorium is more closely related to the Saxifragales, while another suggests Sapinales. This may be because parasitic plants are so closely associated with their hosts they can undergo horizontal gene transfer (Barkman et al. 2007), though Cynomorium isn't known to currently associate with members of either lineage. Strange plants indeed.
|Basic daily routine: pack up camp, drive a few hours to a new trapping site, set up traps and a camp nearby, relax for a few hours until sunset, then drive slowly through the desert with headlamps stuck out the windows and nets at the ready to spot and chase nocturnal rodents on foot.|
|We caught lesser Egyptian jerboas (Jaculus jaculus) by chasing them with nets in pairs or groups of three. This is probably the closest to hunting I'll ever come.|
|Book of North African mammals in hand, Zbyzsek asks (sort of, there's a language barrier) local camel/goat-herding nomads about rodents of the area.|
|Sometimes this develops into an invitation for afternoon tea. The tea is very sweet green tea, and there is some ceremony to the pouring.|
|Herds of camels graze on the winter greenery.|
|Kris sets traps to catch gerbils and attempts to keep dust out of his eyes/ears/nose/mouth. A relentless wind that drove dust into everything started mid-trip, and I didn't take many pictures during these dust storms to spare my camera the damage.|
|Zbyszek and Filipa return from setting traps during the 4-day dust storm.|
|There were some very spectacular landscapes.|
|Sometimes the dunes would creep over the roads and we had to go offroad to avoid getting stuck in the sand.|
|Filipa and Kris hard at work in the office.|
|Thick layer of quartz geodes in an eroded cliff bordering a riverbed. Much of the cliff was composed of flint embedded in chalk.|
|Geode from above site|
|Fresh(ish) fox skull|