Mushroom photography captures themes of space

Robyn Jones
Staff Writer

Seattle-based photographer Rebecca Cummins is combining art and science in her latest exhibition “Spore Drift and Other Phenomena,” which explores different elements of nature such as fungi and spore prints.

Spore prints are created by putting a mushroom upside down on a piece of paper and over time, the mushroom will release their spores.

Looking at the spore prints, a common theme between all of them is the idea of space. In each black and white image there is a black hole surrounded by a milky cloud and particles floating around creating different empty spaces that appear to look like the different galaxies in space. 

Cummins was invited to showcase her work in the gallery by Shannon Benine, associate professor of photography and director of the Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography. 

“I was interested in exhibiting work by an artist made during COVID, and I feel that ‘Spore Drift and Other Phenomena’ that Rebecca Cummins has been making during lockdown are extremely unique, especially photographically,” Benine said. 

Cummins spent her time during the COVID-19 lockdown hunting for fungi and making spore prints in various locations like beaches, city parks, golf courses, the mountains and her own backyard.

Through her work showcased in the exhibition, Cummins said she hopes to provide attendees with a new experience towards nature and the opportunity to marvel at everyday life forms we tend to bypass.

“There’s a lot about fungi that I find really amazing,” Cummins said. “There’s more and more known about how absolutely influential it is on so many aspects of life.” 

Senior photography major Maxwell Sierra said he thought the exhibit was amazing.

“It was honestly inspiring to see photography approached in such a different and new way,” Sierra said.

The gallery will be hosting an artist talk at the Morgan Auditorium on March 15 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The talk will be followed by a gallery reception from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Cummins will be available after the show to answer any questions.

The exhibition, which is the latest to come to the University of La Verne, is running in the Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography from January 31 to March 28.

Any questions regarding current or past exhibitions contact Benine at sbenine@laverne.edu or Lyndsay Bloom, photography manager and gallery coordinator, at lbloom@laverne.edu.

Robyn Jones can be reached at robyn.jones2@laverne.edu

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Robyn Jones is a senior journalism major and sports editor for the Campus Times. She is also a member of Iota Delta and a freelance photographer whose work can be found on Instagram at @jnaisphotos.

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