Darkwood Serenade, 2023
For months I'd been doing casual research on mushrooms, learning how astonishing their hidden world (and the world of fungi in general) really is. They are neither plant nor animal, existing in their own fascinating category. Mushrooms are the fruit of fungi, like apples on a tree.Their underground networks can take on epic proportions. The world's largest organism is not the whale, it's a fungi living in Oregon. It's an astounding 4 square miles and is thousands of years old.
In my work, I often explore the concept of finding beauty and wonder within the shadows. Similar to mushrooms, which thrive in damp and dimly lit environments, I draw inspiration from the overlooked and unexpected corners of our world. The fact that mushrooms flourish in dark and hidden places only adds to their mystique, as they become symbols of the hidden realms and unseen forces of the natural world.
Moreover, the visual aesthetics of mushrooms are simply mesmerizing. Their whimsical and intricate appearance has led them to be mythologized throughout centuries, through folklore and fairy tales. Mushrooms often serve as portals to enchanted realms or symbols of transformation and otherworldly experiences, whether symbolic or sometimes psychedelic.
With this rich symbolism and history in mind, I thought of how I could photograph them.
For me, the most captivating aspect of mushrooms are their magnificent gills, those delicate, feathery structures beneath their caps. I learned of a lighting technique that can make their gills glow, which was amazing! They essentially became the perfect subject for me, in sync with my body of work in so many ways.
I started going to the small forests in Chicago to find mushrooms and to see how I could shoot them at night, but I came away disappointed every time. The few I came across sat in difficult locations to work with. But the biggest problem, which I often face, is that most parks close at sundown. I’ve had cops yell at me for being in a park at night with my camera and I can do without more of that.
A better alternative was to take the forest to my studio! This way I could create and control the most perfect conditions for creating exactly the mood and the images I wanted.
So I returned to the woods and this time gathered various forms of moss and branches and bark and went to garden centers for other items, including a mist maker. I became an expert at keeping moss good and healthy.
The final, and key ingredient was of course the mushrooms. There are several mushroom farms in Chicago and I got the generous support of two, Four Star Mushrooms and Windy City Mushrooms. They both grow very exotic edible mushrooms, sold mostly in bulk to gourmet restaurants. I showed them what I wanted to do and they were happy to help, so I am very grateful to them.
I returned to my studio, to build and arrange these tiny forest sets, and to begin bringing my vision to life. Each mushroom had its own unique character and presence, and I tried to create the sets to suit their personality. Looking through the lens, without my studio clutter to distract me, I could feel the connection between the miniature forests and the expansive woods where I first found my inspiration. The mist maker added an ethereal touch transforming my studio into a realm of mystery and wonder.
I shot them the way I do all my images: I lit them in the dark. With the lights off, I shot long exposures, with my various lights and colored gels next to me, alternating between them to add layers of light and color. From the darkness of the woods to the darkness of my studio, I was reminded of the magic that can be found when we venture into the shadows, explore the overlooked, and embrace the unexpected.
"In none of his photos does Nuez exploit the obvious"
"Seductive ... Nuez's photos do not leave one indifferent"
Ciel Variable - Contemporary Photography magazine
Light Paintings series
I sometimes fantasize that with the snap of a finger, I can escape reality ... in a moment, be transported to a dream world free of life's demands, a child's playground where magic exists and all is right with the world.My Light Paintings are that portal. Through them I can transcend reality and escape into these beautiful, vibrant yet peaceful realms.
Although there is some digital manipulation in this series, the unusual lighting and surreal quality in the Light Painting series is achieved by using colored lights during long exposures. They are not digital effects.
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Our unique and vibrant photographs will add depth and stunning color to any home, office or public space. They are offered in two main finishes
1. Metal float mount
Our Metal prints have a magical luminescence. Their vibrant, saturated colors jump off the wall, and will last for generations. They are created by infusing dyes directly into specially coated aluminum sheets making them incredibly durable and scratch resistant. The ready-to-hang finished piece is float mounted, so they float one inch off the wall.
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We print on premium quality Sunset eSatin paper, using archival Ultrachrome inks for incredible endurance and color saturation. These prints will last for generations.
11x14 and 16x20 sizes are available with or without a window mat. If you are unsure which is best for you, feel free to contact us. Most clients seem to purchase without the window mat.
Prints larger than 16X20 are available as full-frame prints, without a white border or a window mat. If you want a white border, just let us know!
If you have a specific size requirement, that's no problem! Maybe the perfect size is somewhere between two of the sizes in the drop down list. In that case, the price would be the proportional difference. We’ve also stretched and cropped pieces for customers to fit precise spaces. Give us the dimensions and we'll email you image options for you to choose from. There is no charge for the extra labor in custom sizing pieces.
Metal prints in the following sizes include a Certificate of Authenticity, which will be mailed to you:
48X65 or 48X72: edition of 15
43X57 or 40X60: edition of 25
32X40 or 30X45: edition of 50
24X30 or 22X33: edition of 100
16X20 or 16X24: edition of 200
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