Taking its name from the nickname for lingzhi, the revered medicinal mushroom in Asia, Samuel Bradley and Kat Chan’s debut book Immortal Mushroom is a collaborative exploration of Shangri-La, a remote city in northern Yunnan, China’s most culturally and biodiverse province.
Referred to locally as the Wild West, Shangri-La’s high altitudes of over 9,800 ft and often imposingly grandiose landscapes can seem impenetrable. While positioning itself as a travel destination after being renamed in 2001 by the government after the fictional paradise in James Hilton’s novel The Lost Horizon, Shangri-La remains remarkably unknown.
Samuel Bradley & Kat Chan
Bradley’s perspective-bending still life experiments with fruits and vegetables are interspersed with unexplained local characters – some presenting their offerings to camera while others inhabit the edges of frame or the far-away distances of sweeping, fantastical vistas. Shunning a traditional documentary approach, Bradley depicts Shangri-La as a surreal, technicolour stage upon which inanimate objects, people and landscapes perform for the camera.
The book layout playfully positions the photography across the pages, creating juxtapositions and building narrative.
Chan’s essays and poetry are a guide to the uncharted photographic narrative, offering a mix of explanation, history and cultural insight into a China we are rarely shown in the mainstream media.
A warm coated paper is used throughout to elevate the vivid colours of the imagery, broken up by an uncoated section containing an interview with Professor Zhao Kaicun, illuminating the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, challenging common assumptions about what it is, and defining a modern approach to the ancient practice.
Traditional calligraphy by 高小曼 divides each section throughout and as well as foil-blocked over a recessed image plate on the book cover. A tricky piece of production, aligning the depth of each recessed element. The reverse simply presents the title in English at a small scale, allowing the golden yellow book cloth to give impact.
Text is Noto Serif, a Google font referencing their screenshot travel maps and unifying the multilingual content. The interior of the book mixes a matt coated stock that beautifully reproduces Bradley’s work, juxtaposed with a warm uncoated paper for the interview section.
205 × 260 mm
Section sewn, hardback
In addition to the standard edition, we produced a limited run special edition of Immortal Mushroom, which includes the publication and one of two limited edition prints wrapped by a naturally textured embossed blue folder, housed together within an all black slipcase.