Anne-Mie Melis+
Preservation by Migration (A Study into Fungal Spores)

The photographic work 'Preservation by Migration' (A Study into Fungal Spores) engages the viewer at multiple levels. The baroque sensuous richness in shape and colour alludes to 17th century paintings of pictorial abundance. It also refers to classical illustrations of fungi. As with migration, we have an ambiguous ancient relationship with fungi; a desirable food source but we are wary of the toxicity of some of its chemicals. The dynamism of the fallen spores brings you close to imagining the mind-altering qualities associated with the psychoactive compounds, such as psilocybin. Welsh folklore considered areas with mushrooms growing in a circle, fairy rings, as locations of fertility and fortune. Crops grown around them and livestock feeding nearby would flourish. A variety of organisms, humans included are migratory and move from one place in the world to another. 'Preservation by Migration' alludes to all these organisms. Fungi use their spores to travel and find a new place to grow and reproduce.  Spores germinate and develop the mycelium underground network, the vegetative body of the fungus which consists of thread-like hyphae. The mycelium networks decompose organic structures and compounds, enabling  other plants  to take up nutrients from their surroundings. They  form symbiotic partnerships with other species to a mutual benefit. As such the“migration” of mushrooms acts as a metaphor for the benefits of the interconnection in a community of different species  in nature, including us humans.

All the specimens were collected close by where I live on the Graig in Pontypridd. Like flowers, mushrooms are short lived. My research involved exploring ways of documenting them to show the rich fungal biodiversity present in the area.

Preservation by Migration (study into fungal spores 7) Photograph, Giclée print on archival paper
Preservation by Migration (study into fungal spores 11) Photograph, Giclée print on archival paper
Llŷn and Eifionydd National Eisteddfod 2023
Anne-Mie Melis