UNREAL NATURE: An image of Panus lecomtei.
UNREAL NATURE: An image of Panus lecomtei. Steve Axford

Strange life forms: 'It's another world down there'

EIGHT years ago, Steve Axford moved to the remnants of the Big Scrub in far north NSW.

"I bought a house with about three hectares of land surrounding it," he said.

"I was 56 at the time and wasn't ready to fully retire, so I started to plant trees on my property, which was part of an old dairy farm, to regenerate the native rainforest," the ex-IT guy-turned photographer said.

And as he worked the volcanic soils, Axford noticed strange life forms: creatures belonging neither to the plant nor animal kingdoms.

So he got his camera out and started shooting.

Over the years, hundreds of species of fungi have crossed into the focal length of Axford's macro lens, and one look at the resulting images gives audiences the impression of peering, for the first time, through the Hubble telescope into outer space.

"It is another world down there, amid the decomposing leaf matter and decaying wood," Axford said.

"There are an estimated four million species of fungi on Earth and we know almost nothing about them."

The images were so good that BBC producers commissioned some time lapse footage for Sir David Attenborough's Planet Earth 2 series in 2016.

Keep in mind that all the wonder you will see in Axford's work grow locally, in our backyards.

Feel the wonder as Steve Axford takes you on a journey to the magical world of fungi, on the big screen at Nimbin.



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