10th October - 5th December, 2023

Sidmouth Fungi

A Wallspace by Bob Reynolds celebrating mycology and the diversity of fungi in and around Sidmouth.

Sidmouth Fungi with Bob Reynolds Photo: Sarah Hall

Fungi, a kingdom of organisms both enchanting and elusive, is the focus of this Wallspace — Sidmouth Fungi by Bob Reynolds. This collection of 21 photographs, dedicated to the diversity of fungi discovered in the Sidmouth area, pay homage to the enthralling world of mycology — the study of fungi.

Revered for their culinary properties, medicinal benefits, toxic risks, immune-boosting attributes, or even their psychoactive effects, fungi have occupied a significant space in human life for centuries. Their impact has trickled down through literature, art, and culture, painting a vivid tapestry that continues to grow as we unearth more about these mysterious organisms.

The artist's journey into the realm of fungi began with attending a fungi hunt, an experience that ignited a deep-rooted fascination. During the isolation brought on by the Covid-19 lockdown, Bob spent countless hours spent on local moors and in woodlands. Armed with a camera, he documented these strolls, turning chance encounters with various fungi species into this captivating artwork.

Seasonal splendour

What makes this artwork special is the keen observation of how the Sidmouth area's fungi species change with the seasons. Each photograph captures the unique form and vibrant hues that characterize these organisms, depending on the time of year. Each image is carefully curated to create an enchanting fungi tapestry that transports viewers to a world teeming with form and colour. It is an invitation to pause and ponder, to marvel at the rich biodiversity that exists underfoot and often escapes our attention.

Through this series, the artist hopes to share the magic that can be found in the simple act of looking closely at the world around us, and to contribute to the ever-growing body of work that celebrates the awe-inspiring complexity of fungi. As Bob says, “With each trip, the challenge of locating, identifying and photographing them is exciting and rewarding, I hope that through sharing some images that others can see and appreciate the positive qualities of the humble mushroom.”

Bob lives in Sidmouth, is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and a Member of the Sidmouth Photographic Club. This piece was part of a collaborative project with Sidmouth Photographic Club which focused on people and place, mentored by artist-photographer Robert Darch.

Collaborating with Sidmouth Science Festival and Sid Valley Biodiversity Group

As part of Sidmouth Science Festival, there was a guided fungi hunt on Saturday 14 October - we provided postcards of Bob's artwork with the names of the featured species on the back, now available to buy at Sidmouth Tourist Information Centre.    Ed Dolphin, Chair of Sid Valley Biodiversity Group also collaborated with this project, check out the inspiring conversation in our film about this project.