A Fungi Story by Hannah Caldwell

A lovely editorial submitted by Australian food and still life photographer Hannah Caldwell.


Caldwell regularly explores still life arrangements of food in her commissioned work, and her series of images of different mushrooms studied their fascinating shapes, colors and textures with a detailed look at the intricate structures of their gills. She used dramatic light to create contrast and focus stacking to bring out every detail.

The idea for her project came when she noticed the beauty and complex structures of mushrooms for sale while wandering her local market one day in June.


The seasonal produce at my local market is a constant source of photographic inspiration,” she says. “The markets have a mushroom specialist who has a huge variety of crazy local mushrooms and fungi, and I found the most beautiful ones in different colours and shapes.


She says fungi are fascinating organisms.

“They’re interesting not just from a culinary standpoint, where they are highly prized and sought-after, but biologically and ecologically as well. Oyster mushrooms are capable of cleaning up oil spills by breaking down petroleum, which seems almost at odds with their beautiful and delicate appearance.”


I had the idea for the images when I found these mushrooms – I was blown away by them. I had never seen oyster mushrooms cluster like that. I spent quite a bit of time picking out the perfect ones, and people came past oohing and aahing over them. They’re a very beautiful ingredient and visually spectacular in their own right.