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Mycophilia: Nika Sandler's unearthly photographic take on the fungal kingdom

Updated: May 24

In the scholarly work “The Romance of the Fungus World,” researcher Rolfe presents a compelling narrative that positions fungi within a context often marred by negative connotations. Historically, these organisms have been linked to themes of pestilence, mortality, and decomposition, with their physical manifestations frequently perceived as unsettling and distasteful.

Contrasting this traditional viewpoint, Russian artist Nika Sandler’s latest photographic collection embarks on a journey to redefine the mycological aesthetic. Eschewing the entrenched mycophobic perspective, Sandler’s work illuminates the inherent creativity and mysterious nature of fungi. Through her lens, fungi are reimagined as otherworldly beings, echoing the enigmatic allure found in ancient myths and speculative theories regarding their extraterrestrial origins.

Honey mushroom

Fly agaric

Oyster mushrooms

Tree fungus 1


Tree fungus 2


Common earthball



Nika Sandler is an artist working with photography and text. She explores the themes of human and non-human gaze, gender, pleasure, creepy and disgusting. Her work has been published in i-D, Dazed, Libération, PhotoVogue, Der Greif, Unthinking Photography, Fisheye Magazine, Phroom Platform, Konbini, The Calvert Journal, Publico, Metal Magazine, PhMuseum, L'Oeil de la Photographie, BROAD, F-Stop, Float Magazine and many others. She is also the winner of the Small File Photo Festival 2023 organized by The Photographers' Gallery.


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