Commissions & Awards

2023Hospital Rooms commission
Arts Council England project grant 'The next dawn, the next spring'
2021Cultivator, Mentoring Award
2020Cultivator, Individual Skills Development Grant
Cultivator, Creative Investment Grant
2019VASW Artist of the Month
2018Mentoring & Skills Development, Cultivator Cornwall
2015Shortlisted for Exeter Phoenix Artists’ Moving Image Commission
- with Max Catterall
2013Shortlisted for ‘ArchIsle’ Residency, Jersey
2012Open Studio, Tate Modern
Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England
2011The World in London, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
2007Nominated for ArtSway Production Residency
2007Arts Trail, The Big Chill, curated by Alice Sharp
2006Shortlisted for Arts Council England International Fellowship, Finland
Nominated for PLAT(T)FORM 07, Zurich
Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England, London
1994The Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship


1994-1996MFA, University of British Columbia, Canada. Tutor: Jeff Wall
1987-1991BA (Hons) First Class, University of Leeds

Solo Exhibitions

2022As It Is Seen, Grays Wharf
2018Melanie Stidolph: GOLDEN, Porthmeor Studios, St Ives
2017Melanie Stidolph, Black Box Curatorial Project, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham
2012The Fall, Campbell Works, London
2007Melanie Stidolph, Keith Talent Gallery, London
2006Online exhibition, Fotonet,
2005Melanie Stidolph, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland
2004Interior Life, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland
2001Common, Fremantle, London
1997Shallows, Kamloops Art Gallery, Canada

Group Exhibitions

2024Submerged Bodies, Exeter, curated by MA Curation students, University of Exeter
2023RWA Photo Open
We Are Floating in Space, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange
2022Exeter Contemporary Open, Exeter Phoenix
2021A strong defence of delicate things, Anna Lucas, Melanie Stidolph and Alice Walton, Auction House, Redruth
Trethvor, curated by Oliver Udy, on display at
Newlyn and The Exchange Gallery and as pop-up exhibitions in venues throughout Cornwall.
Synesthesia, online project, The Bridge, Plymouth Uni / Cultivator
2020Cornish Slates, Falmouth, screening (date to be rearranged)
Cine Sisters, launch event screenings, Plymouth Art Weekender
2019Scenes, Newlyn Art Gallery, curated by Naomi Frears
Staff Show, Tate St Ives
Equinoxy, St Ives
From A to B via C, Back Lane West, Cornwall
2018So You Think You Know Where You Are Going? Enys House, Cornwall, organised by Cultivator
2017In And Out of Love, screening, Late at Tate, Tate St Ives
To Die By Your Side, sound work, Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, curated by Naomi Frears
Future Imperfect symposium, screening, Plymouth University
Circle Contemporary screenings, curated by Jeanie Sinclair, Wadebridge, Cornwall
2016Omgyjer Glusek, Peckham 24, Screening programmed by South Kiosk gallery, London
The Voyeurs, St Ives, Screening programmed by Simon Bayliss and Naomi Frears
All Out of Love, Tate St Ives, Summer film programme
2015Eventually Everything Connects, Mandy Lee Jandrell / Mel Stidolph, Solent Showcase
Acts of Looking, online project curated by Hannah Starkey
Except The Mirror, Evidence: Format Festival, Derby
- curated for Format Festival incl. Sophie Clements, Annie MacDonell, Tom Lovelace, Richard Paul and Alice Walton
- curated by Shaun Doyle and Mally Mallinson
2014Open Screening, Whitechapel Gallery, London
PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS, Air Space Gallery, Stoke on Trent
- curated by Shaun Doyle and Mally Mallinson
2013Album II, 5 Years
2012Is That It, Brighton Photo Fringe
The World in London, The Photographers’ Gallery offsite project
- Victoria Park, Park House, Oxford Street, Gulbenkian Foundation, London
Photo-Soup, London
Collectible, Zeitgeist Project Space, London
2011Notebook 4, The Studio, London
Fotoseptiembre 2011, Mexico City
Nine Point Perspective, Hotshoe Gallery, London
Contact vs Tripod, Studio Strike, London
Harbingers, Centrum, Berlin
2010Psychometry, Core Gallery, London
Notebook 3, The Studio, Photomonth, London
Photo-Soup, Espai 27, Barcelona
Photomonth Photofair, London
The Anachronistic Album, 2nd Edition, Brighton Photo Fringe, Brighton
Make, Believe, Blank Gallery, Brighton Photo Fringe, Brighton
Rhizomatic, Departure Gallery, London
The Anachronistic Album, photo-space, London
Notebook 2, The Studio, London
Running and Standing, The Agency, London
2009Notebook, The Studio, Photomonth, London
Collyer Bristow Gallery, London
The Shandy Show, The Arts Gallery, London
Itchy Scratchy, Permanent Gallery, Brighton
Territory, Otter Gallery, University of Chichester
The Russell Herron Collection, Sartorial Contemporary Art, London
2008Call Back, The Exchange, Penzance
Three BY Three (2), Yinka Shonibare’s new space, London
Gallery Artist Limited Edition Prints, Keith Talent Gallery, London
Art Trail, The Big Chill Festival, Eastnor
Curious Nature, Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance
Pass the Picture, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Curious Nature, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London
2007Pulse Art Fair, Miami
Pass the Picture, Goethe Institut, Berlin
2006YearO6 Art Fair, London
Real, Fake and Imagined, Permanent Gallery off-site show, Brighton
Photo Show, O Contemporary, Brighton
Gallery Artists, Keith Talent Gallery, London
Art Car Boot Fair, London
To a Watery Grave, St Mary’s University Art Gallery, Halifax, Canada
Scope Art Fair, New York
2005Aqua Art Miami, Florida
Torn Stasis, Keith Talent Gallery, London
This Show is Ribbed for Her Pleasure, Cynthia Broan Gallery, NY
2004The Shandy Show, The Shandy Foundation, London
- inc. Paul Noble, Mark Titchner, Sarah Lucas
Freehouse, MOT off-site project, London
PILOT:1, London, nominated by Alistair Robinson
Lilith, MOT, London, inc. Runa Islam, Sonia Boyce
To a Watery Grave, Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown, Canada
2003Scrambled, MOT, London
2002Worthy Subjects: Photographs from the Kamloops Art Gallery Permanent Collection, Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, Canada
1999Lapsus, Five Years, London, curated by John Roberts
1998Home Base, Kamloops Art Gallery, Canada
1997Browser, Roundhouse, Vancouver, Canada
Good Sports, Burnaby Art Gallery, Canada
Framed, Or Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
1996Benefit Art Auction, Artspeak Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
The Artscene, Skuggi Gallery, Rockford, Illinois, USA
Endless Summer, Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax, Canada


2020'Last Summer', interview,
2015'Except The Mirror' blogspot, Pete McGovern
2012'On Falling' Interview with Christiane Monarchi,
'Photographing Apples', Daniel C Blight,
‘Tate Blog’,
‘Photo Soup at Unit 24’, The Up Coming, blog
2010‘Brighton Photo Fringe’, Hotshoe magazine blog
‘The Anachronistic Album’, The Times, March 2010
2008‘Art Trail 2008’
‘Curious Nature’,
‘The Emma Hart Biennale Radio Show’, Resonance FM, 14 Feb
2007‘Melanie Stidolph’, The Art Newspaper, Frieze Art Fair, 12 Oct
2006‘2006 Critics Picks’,
‘Seven Says’, Nicky Catley, Sunday Telegraph Magazine, October
2005‘When I Lived in Modern Times’,
‘Lust and Found’, James Westcott, ArtNet,
‘This show is ribbed for her pleasure’, Michael Paulson, NYArts Magazine,
‘Interior Life’, Northern Metro
2004‘Lilith’, The Guardian, The Guide


2022'Endless Reproduction' forthcoming photobook.
2020'Last Summer', Nu journal
'A body in parts interjects' Lizzie Lloyd, Synesthesia project
2014‘I wanted the best for you’, Playground, Tate Learning
‘An Imperfect Choice’, PhotoSoup, intro text and images
2013‘It All Started When The Days Were Quite Plain’ curated by Sarah Carne
2012‘Behind the Image’ Anna Fox and Natasha Caruana
2010‘The Anachronistic Album’ exhibition publication
2009‘The Russell Herron Collection’, Sartorial Contemporary Art, exhibition publication
2008Pass the Picture, Goethe-Institut, Malaysia, exhibition catalogue
2007/seconds, issue 7,
2005Miser & Now, issue 7


The Shandy Foundation
Kamloops Art Gallery, Canada
Green College, University of British Columbia, Canada
Private Collections in Canada and UK

Works at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, Cornwall

Melanie Stidolph works with video, film, and photography. She studied at The University of Leeds & The University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Her work is influenced by experiences of infertility & childlessness and she is drawn to rock pools & mis-using photographic equipment.

Commissions from Hospital Rooms, The Photographers’ Gallery & Tate. Solo exhibitions include As it is seen, Grays Wharf Gallery, Cornwall, Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland & Kamloops Art Gallery, Canada. Group shows Exeter Contemporary Open 2022, We Are Floating in Space, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, and RWA Photo Open. Curator Except The Mirror for Format Festival, Derby. Curator, Public Programme, Tate St Ives.

New film – The next dawn, the next spring, is an outcome from a participatory project funded by Arts Council England and supported by Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange. Endless Reproduction is a book of photographs I made during the years I was unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant. It places the frustrations and increased medical interventions of trying to conceive alongside the mechanical processes and failures of photography. Published in September 2022, featured in The Guardian. The ongoing photo series Last Summer pictures scenes outside my direct experience, through something that is. Photographs of families with young children are approached through a love of the sea. They focus on how we arrange ourselves and gesture to others when we or they are in unfamiliar territory.

‘Stidolph’s repeated exposure to and sharing in the watery landscapes of families at leisure becomes an act of anthropological curiosity – she watches groups interact, registering how they behave individually and together, and also when she is close, how they respond to her and her camera. It is an act of careful circling, waiting, watching, returning, reflecting and re-framing. As open as she is about her personal circumstances, at times, Stidolph pointedly subtracts herself from the work. Even the act of pressing the shutter feels too personal, too deliberate, too charged, too active.’

A body, in parts, interjects, essay by Lizzie Lloyd, for Synesthesia, 2021

‘What I like very much about your images is that the groups you photograph seem on the one hand very composed and directed, as if the rocks or the beach act like a theatre stage, the figures perfectly in harmony with their environment, folded into it nearly. Yet the images also appear very accidental, nonchalant – observations of groups where the intimacy between the individuals is very much present, it is preserved and felt.’

Interview, Stefanie Braun, Co-Editor, NU, Photomonitor 2020

‘…Other works were documents of surreal gallery performance, and the highlight two photographs by Melanie Stidolph.  Almost too easy to overlook they had me repeatedly walking back up to figure out just how good was what I was looking at. I was reminded of a US photographer who tossed a ping pong ball into the frame at the moment of exposure, disrupting the document – but these – part of the Evidence brief – were personal and had an elegance.  They were beautiful.’

Pete McGovern blogspot 2015

‘One of these apples is no longer attached to this tree. It was thrown into the camera’s view and an image was made as it crashed through the branches and presumably fell to the ground, with some noise.  The photograph was not taken by a human hand, but rather by a motion detector; triggered by a single, unattached apple moving vertically through the frame.

Looking at this picture I know it is a photograph, and therefore I know the apple tree is dead. There is an absence in this image that attracts me to it.  Like other interesting photographs, this one thinks, like all other photographs, this one lies.  I enjoy this picture because I know there is nothing more difficult to photograph than an apple, but in some unavoidable way, I am lying too: if I think photography has nothing whatsoever to do with truth then any reflection upon it cannot contain a modicum of certainty.

…By taking away something in the making of this photograph, we are offered something dead and rotten with no sharp ends.  The picture allows us to think politically: to think beyond one human and one response and instead to the wider social function of a particular form of photographic technology as it relates to the authority of images’

Photographing Apples, Daniel C Blight, varioussmallfires 2012

Christiane Monarchi: ‘Considering the technology engaged in enacting one of your photographic compositions, travelling from motion sensor to surveillance and burglar alarm, can the viewer shift from pondering the lightness of this seemingly innocuous, frozen moment to considering possible darker meanings – the possibility of mishap, accident, or even violence?

Melanie Stidolph: When I was approaching making the work I was aware of consciously disconnecting my reasons for starting it with possible later readings of the work, to work in opposition to how I had previously made images.  I researched into as you say ‘darker’ meanings, looking at the notion of ‘The Fall’ as a physical fall, or a moral fall from grace.  I was looking at works like Bas Jan Ader’s ‘Fall’ videos, for their literal connection, and then found his crying video.  For me these notions of grief and sense of self falling were very much part of making the work.’

On Falling, Christiane Monarchi, Editor, Photomonitor 2012

‘I first saw a Melanie Stidolph work at a group show at Keith Talent in 2006.  I loved it immediately.  It was a photo of some clouds.  But as well as loving it I also thought, eh, what’s going on here?  I mean, this was a show with works by Gordon Dalton, Clunie Reid, and Shaun Doyle and Mally Mallinson and then there was this – this, yes, let’s say it: beautiful image of some clouds.

So, I go home and I check out the internet and here’s a website with more of Melanie Stidolph’s work and these images are making me go a bit weird – sort of really bad, clichéd images and yet..yet.. not.  She was doing something with clichés themselves.  Trying to find out why a cliché was a cliché.  How it became.

I rarely use the word ‘bold’ and certainly never ‘brave’ to describe an artist’s work but I had at least to look in my thesaurus to try and take me close to deciding what Melanie does.  If you look too quickly you miss it.  But if you give it time, what she is doing is amazing.  Really out there and with subject matter that many artists just wouldn’t go near.  Brilliant.’

Catalogue text, The Russell Herron Collection, Sartorial Contemporary Art 2009

‘For those interested in new British art, the likeability and lightness of the work here paints a picture of a scene where no-strings attached pleasure is the dish of the day.

… Melanie Stidolph’s gorgeous photo of a toddler, haloed in sunlight, abandoning a swing and heading for us…Finally, there’s a second huge, graceful, yet vaguely threatening print by Melanie Stidolph, perhaps the best piece on display. This one is of a mare in a field looking down on its sleeping foal, with an expression that could be motherly love or pure menace, as if it just kicked its infant unconscious for misbehaving.’

Lust and Found, James Westcott, Artnet 2005

‘The tenor is aptly summed up by the title ‘This Show is Ribbed For Her Pleasure’ – an agile fusion of the sophomoric and hamfisted with the knowingly conceptual.  Although much of the work engages with visible currents in the contemporary scene, the show is an illuminating introduction to a lineup of British artists who have staked out their own wry patch of land – imagine Rabelais with a post-ironic insecurity about what’s even funny anymore.

… Other standouts in the show include Melanie Stidolph’s large-scale digital (sic) photos… Stidolph’s picture of a white horse and its foal has a strange intensity (due in part to its ethereal, washed out color-scheme) that refuses to be immediately characterized as “doing” this or that. The sincere beauty of the photo counterbalances the My Little Pony irony of the subject matter.’

This Show is ribbed for her pleasure, Michael Paulson, NYArts Magazine 2005

‘Melanie Stidolph’s new photographs find moments of quiet revelation in the details of everyday life.  Stidolph distils an unexpected drama from low-key subjects into still images which range from landscape to portrait compositions.  Working spontaneously in a documentary fashion, but with a medium format camera, Stidolph’s people, animals and places become quietly transformed into luminous, highly loaded moments.

Stidolph’s practice is a highly distinctive and original cross-breed between the documentary and staged traditions within photography.  Specifically, her area of investigation lies in forging a dialogue between the humanist documentary tradition recently exemplified by Rineke Dikjstra and Helen van Meene and the cinematic tradition.  Like van Meene, she is driven by the desire to record exacting observations of her human subjects; like Jeff Wall by whom she was taught, she brings an acute understanding of historical picture-making to photography.

Her works establish a point midway between what Michael Fried labels the ‘theatrical’ and ‘absorptive’ traditions of picture-making. Stidolph’s figures confront the viewer at near-life-size and feel to enter our own space, and yet the viewer is placed into the position of the photographer’s own intimate encounter with the subjects, who are captured as being entirely unselfconscious.

Though Stidolph shoots spontaneously on medium format, her exceptional dexterity with the medium and compositional gifts mean that chance encounters and scenarios become unexpectedly iconic, monumental or ‘made strange’.  Often what initially appears to be staged is slowly revealed as the record of quotidian circumstances.’

Exhibition text, Interior Life, Alistair Robinson, Director, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art 2004

‘Melanie Stidolph attempts to spontaneously capture the unexpected drama of everyday life.  In her last exhibition at the NGCA, she reflected the chaos of the domestic family environment, offering images of young children wreaking havoc in the home as they wandered in their own internal worlds.

This time, she has focused on non-human subjects, presenting photographs of the natural world that are simultaneously endearing and menacing.  In one image, for example, a horse stands over a foal that could either be asleep or dead.  Such is the ambiguity of the scene, the viewer is left unsure as to whether they are looking at a case of parental devotion or infanticide.’

Melanie Stidolph, CC, Metro 2005