I've Got Soul
by Bruce Sunpie Barnes

project STATEMENT

If you have heard of “Armillaria ostoyae,” you probably know why I’m so pumped up about mushrooms. Nicknamed the “humongous fungus,” and located in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon, it is the largest living organism known on earth. This giant organism covers some 2,385 acres—that’s almost four square miles!

I have been photographing and collecting fungi for more than 20 years. I simply can’t get enough of the unique forms and places they can be found. You really have to humble yourself as a photographer to get good images. In South Louisiana, where I live, it often means kneeling or laying on your belly in mud, or crawling around in places where you end up eye level with lots of other organisms—like snakes, spiders, and poison ivy.

As I have photographed fungi over the years with a keener observation, the spirits of these organisms have become much clearer. I have taken on the challenge of creating soulful images of this life form that too many people fear or misunderstand—similar to snakes or spiders. My passion is to continue making art with one of the lesser known members of the Five Kingdoms of Life on Earth.

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