Phyllis Ma makes ethereal photographs of mushrooms

Mushrooms are often photographed as an added element in savory meals, but it turns out they don’t just look good in plates. U.S.-based photographer Phyllis Ma uncovers their surprisingly photogenic personalities as they pose as her muses for a delightfully whimsical photo series, Mushroom and Friends .

A photo-collection sold as a zine, Mushroom and Friends stars the endearing fungi in surreal landscapes, where Phyllis makes use of colorful backdrops, graceful lighting, and unexpected food props that bring out the mushroom’s macroscopic beauty. Daisies become the soil for new mushrooms to sprout. White columns of upward-growing mushrooms create theatrical pillars of a tiny coliseum. A watermelon becomes the rock in which different clusters of fungi thrive in an under-the-sea mushroom adventure. As opposite to a Michelin-star meal, Phyllis manages to capture the quirky humor coming from these curvy curations.

Phyllis’ love for mushrooms bloomed after a visit to Smallhold, a modern-day mushroom farm in Brooklyn. From the glass windows of the display, Phyllis enjoyed looking at the funny fungi medley in many forms and sizes. Anchored by her ideals for sustainability, Phyllis voluntarily studied more about fungi, foraging mushroom forms in hidden places across New York and Berlin. Many of these mushrooms were scouted from cemeteries, city forests and parks – each seeming to hold some magic in them.

From shy to goofy, simple to brazen, Phyllis magically captures mushrooms in their best forms, inspiring onlookers to uncover the humor and quirk in something that seems too ordinary. Mushroom and Friends features 32-full-colored pages of these fungal elements on smooth, glossy stock paper. Phyllis is looking to release the second edition of her mushroom curation.