Vibrant Fungi Photos Capture the Beauty of Nature and Nostalgic Memories of Foraging for Mushrooms

Fungi Photography by Barbora Batokova

Though Barbora Batokova grew up in the city, she's always been a country girl at heart. In fact, she has fond memories of time spent with her family outside the city foraging mushrooms. This love of mushrooms stayed with her as she moved from her native Czech Republic to the United States for university. And as a way to stay connected with her heritage, she revisited the idea of photographing and foraging mushrooms. This gave birth to Fungiwoman, Batokova's Instagram and website, which is not only a collection of mushroom photography but a resource of information and inspiration.

Batokova has always been interested in the variety of shapes, sizes, and colors found in fungi and how they can be used as ingredients to create a delicious meal. But photographing them has opened up a whole new world for her.

“I began to learn about the fascinating world of mushrooms and how powerful and amazing they are,” she tells My Modern Met. “They can do so much!

“They are well known for their indispensable role in the forests and recycling organic matter, but there's so much more. Thanks to their chemical defenses and properties, they present a huge potential in medicine as well as in defense against bioterrorist threats. They can break down toxic waste, creating a huge potential for mycoremediation, a form of bioremediation in which fungi are used to decontaminate the environment.

Mushroom Photography by Barbora Batokova

“I am so amazed at the seemingly endless possibilities of how mushrooms can help save the planet, fix what we've broken, and make our lives better and more sustainable!”

Through her work, Batokova hopes to inspire others to learn more about these incredible organisms, and to think more about sustainability in nature. She also hopes to bridge the disconnect that people often have with the natural world by providing them with tools to get out into the forest and see the incredible mushrooms that surround them.

Batokova carries out this mission through informative captions on her Instagram posts and with information and recipes on the Fungiwoman website. In spring 2024, she will release a book that collects all of her knowledge and love for mushrooms. In this way, she wants to change perceptions about them, particularly in the United States, where she's found a lot of fear from people about selecting poisonous mushrooms.

“My goal is to introduce readers to mushroom foraging, share some of my personal mushroom-related stories, and teach them about the major groups of mushrooms, as well as the most sought-after edibles like chanterelles, morels or porcini; the most poisonous like the death caps or eastern destroying angels; or medicinal mushrooms like reishi and turkey tails. I am also including mushroom recipes that are often inspired by Czech cuisine. One of the hardest things so far has been narrowing down which mushrooms to write about and picking out the photos for the book!”

In anticipation of the publication, keep up with Batokova's work on Instagram or whip up a nice bowl of mushroom soup in her honor.

Barbora Batokova has fond memories of mushroom foraging with her family while growing up in the Czech Republic.

Mushroom PhotographyFungiwoman Photography by Barbora BatokovaFungi Photography by Barbora Batokova

After moving to the United States, she began photographing fungi as a way to get out into nature and reconnect with her culture.

Mushroom Photography by Barbora BatokovaMushroom in the ForestMushroom Photography by Barbora Batokova

This blossomed into Fungiwoman, a popular Instagram account that then became an informative website about mushrooms.

Mushroom in the ForestFungi in the ForestMushroom Photography

She shares everything from her fungi photography to tasty mushroom recipes and tips on how to identify mushrooms.

Fungi Photography by Barbora BatokovaFungi in the ForestMushroom in the Forest

In spring 2024, Fungiwoman will be releasing a book that collects all of her best images and information about mushrooms.

Mushroom PhotographyFungiwoman Photography by Barbora BatokovaFungiwoman Photography by Barbora Batokova

“Mushrooms are definitely mysterious, powerful organisms, and there's still a lot we have to learn about them, but there's no need to be afraid of them.”

Fungiwoman Photography by Barbora Batokova

Fungi Photography by Barbora BatokovaFungi Photography by Barbora BatokovaBarbora Batokova: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Barbora Batokova.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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