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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas Present Idea #2: The Mushroom Picker

 Concealed by ferns sat PENNY BUN,
by day protected from the sun.
On most clear nights she'd gaze with love
upon the shimmering stars above.

Tonight she didn't dare in case
the Picker spied her golden face.

 Rising up without a sound
from fungi networks underground,
her friend the Gypsy formed a cluster
with Scarlet Cup and Rosy Earthstar.

 Through the wild green thickets
in the distance
stalked the Picker with persistence.

He crept along with quiet purpose,
boots swift across the moonlit surface.

He clenched a stick,
sharp and slim,
and a basket to put the mushrooms in.

He should be
not to pick
a mushroom that
could make him

The Mushroom Picker by David Robinson is a story book with pictures of mushrooms in it. And what pictures?

They're made in the darkroom using analogue equipment and the mushrooms that Robinson started selling when he became disenchanted with advertising photography ( half the photographers in London have worked for him - so if you see someone selling mushrooms, chances are...).

It is something very different and a little bit special turning mushrooms into characters with personalities all of their own, kind of reminscent of the 2D renderings of child's play by the likes of Jan von Holleben,
but rather more original.

The Mushroom Picker tells the story of Penny Bun's attempts to escape the clutches of the evil Mushroom Picker in full-Gothic mushroomorama. It really is something else. 

They're part of a growing trend in photography books for children (I think there's an upcoming feature in the BJP on this), though I doubt there are many that are as scary as Robinson's mushrooms. 

Buy the book here. 

This is from an interview in Another Mag:

Robinson has a background in advertising photography, which he conducted successfully alongside a printing and production business for other photographers, based in a darkroom in east london. But he found the commercial world somewhat disenchanting, and in 2005 set up Sporeboys and produced Wonderland, a series of landscapes documenting international destinations and theme parks, in search of a change of direction. The same year, however, he became a father and, with a desire to remain in one place, turned back to the darkroom once more: "I wanted to be creative without having to leave London and in my darkroom I had a huge fridge full of mushrooms and all this amazing analog equipment that wasn’t being used as much as it should have been and suddenly my interest in mushrooms and all the facilities that I had available just melded together."


mark page said...

I had a friend once who was scared of mushrooms. He would hate this. We fell out. I may buy it for him.

colin pantall said...

It's the perfect gift, Mark! It scares me and I love mushrooms.

Have a great Christmas!

S. Newbery said...

That book---how wonderful! And the photograms---what an air of sinister enticement. The Gorey of the darkroom...?