Steve Axford never ceases to surprise us with his amazing and magical Australian mushroom photography. Axford travels all over Australia as well as the rest of the world taking photos of beautifully diverse mushrooms. He doesn’t always go far to find the perfect photo opportunity, in fact many of the mushrooms he photographs live in his own backyard.
In an interview with Bored Panda Axford revealed the drive behind his passion for photographing fungus: “I take photos of fungi because I love the forest and it gives me a great excuse to go there as often as I can.”
Axford has uncovered so many unique mushrooms, some of which he is pretty sure remain undocumented by scientists. Some Australian mushrooms glow in the dark, others dangle like an all white chandelier, but most resemble something straight out of a picturesque fairytale. If you’ve never thought of fungus as beautiful get ready to change your mind!
“Mushrooms are amazing. Not because they will save the world, or anything like that, but because they are a huge part of life on this planet.”
Axford finds fungi particularly interesting because they are one of the three multi-celled life forms, along with plants and animals, yet they are the only one we know nearly nothing about. He adds, “It is now estimated that there could be 4 million species of fungus, of which only 1 to 200,000 have been described. Many of the larger species have been described, but almost none of the tiny species.”
“It is a whole world waiting to be discovered and it is right under our noses. I’m no mycologist, but at least I can help people to get to know them through my photography.”
“I often photograph small species and most of these are not described. Also, many Australian species are assumed to be the same as Northern Hemisphere species, but when checked are found not to be the same at all.”
“Some of my best photos have been taken by my back door, which has particularly good natural lighting.”
Axford lives in the subtropical-forested Northern Rivers region. He purchased a lot here with plans to restore the natural land and look after it as best he can. He said, “It is very rewarding and the native plants, animals, birds, and fungi love it. While doing this I have developed a passion for the way things fit together (the ecology). Nothing exists in isolation and the more you look, the more connections you find.”