As it is seen – open!

Exhibition now open!



7 – 29 OCT 2022
WED – SAT / 10 – 4

Talks programme at Grays Wharf:

Saturday 22nd October, 3pm

Mandy Lee Jandrell, artist and Director of Institute of Photography and Falmouth School of Art, Falmouth University in conversation with Melanie Stidolph.

Saturday 29th October, 3pm

Come and hear Yvonne John author of ‘Dreaming of a Life Unlived: Intimate Stories and Portraits of Women Without Children’. Yvonne is a graduate of Gateway Women (GW) year-long Plan B Mentorship programme and is a trained facilitator of the GW reignite weekend workshops.

Book for talks at Grays Wharf website.


‘As it is seen’ finds a visual and poetic language for the artist’s experience of involuntary childlessness through two bodies of work.

A series of photographic works titled ‘Last Summer’ present scenes outside the artist’s direct experience. The works show families with young children at the edge of the sea. They focus on how we arrange ourselves and signal to others when we or they are in unfamiliar territory. These photographs look at the shape of groups and how togetherness is demonstrated through gestures and distance.

Stidolph says:
The slow observational process of creating the work is a form of healing; as I took the first shot of what has become a series, I realised it was the first time in a long time I could look long enough to compose a photograph, rather than look away from a family scene I could not recreate in my own life.

The exhibition will launch Stidolph’s first photo book: Endless Reproduction which shares a perspective of a journey to being childless not by choice.

From the Epigraph to the book:
2022. Cornwall, home. Twenty two years after having children became a focused ambition. I spent years in the mind of my imagined near future – trying to will an increasingly distant life closer to me, whilst trying to hold myself in the present.

The book is available from the gallery and direct from the artist’s website.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a free publication featuring an essay about Stidolph’s practice by writer Lizzie Lloyd ‘A body, in parts, interjects’ commissioned by Cultivator Cornwall, a response to the work ‘Endless Reproduction’ by Paola Paleari, curator and writer, and an interview with the artist by Stefanie Braun, freelance curator, commissioned by Photomonitor.

This exhibition is part of a new programme at Grays Wharf supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

As It Is Seen, solo show

Brilliant to be part of this programme!
📢 We’re very excited to announce that we’ve received an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant for a new programme of exhibitions, workshops and a research strand.
Between now and early next year, we’ll be working with a fantastic group of artists who will bring their varied practices to Grays Wharf.
The programme spans performance, film, photography, sculpture, painting, and text-based works. We’re really looking forward to delivering this over the coming weeks and months and hope to see you at the shows!
A PODIUM / Amy Lawrence & Chloe Bonfield
DOWR TAMAR / Samuel Bestwick
AS IT IS SEEN / Melanie Stidolph
FOUR FOUR / Liam Jolly
RISE AND FALL / Janet Holland & Shallal Studios
ALSO: this programme allows us to employ an Intern, part-funded by the Cultivator Internship Programme. Thanks @cultivatorcornwall !!
Link to apply in bio
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England


Exeter Contemporary Open

Thank you to the panel – artists Jonathan Baldock, Anne Ryan and curator Matt Roberts for selecting my work for this year’s Exeter Contemporary Open! Delighted to be showing works from the ‘Endless Reproduction’ series.

Congratulations to all the other artists, really looking forward to seeing the show. The exhibition is on at Exeter Phoenix Gallery from 16 September to 4 November 2022.

‘Endless Reproduction’ is funded!

Amazing!! Thank you everyone who has pledged and posted support on line for this project!! The book Endless Reproduction has reached target before the deadline!! So brilliant to be heading into print! The book will be available early September and I can’t wait to send copies to all the incredible supporters of this project, thank you so much.

‘A very personal project documenting an important and still taboo subject treated with beauty and dignity’  writer Wiz Wharton.
‘It was made as a way of expressing the inexpressible, of engaging with expression and your practice when neither seemed capable of telling it as it was. And yet, somehow, with these oblique performance and interventions, so much is communicated.’ Artist EJ Major.
‘Such a powerful project’ artist, Sarah Pickering
Her work is so subtle, sensitive and slight, yet she wrests enormous depth of meaning from the seemingly most straightforward and simple of images.’ – artist Russell Herron.
Black and white photograph taken inside an artist's studio, looking out through a window onto a beach where a woman and a man lie, looking at the camera.

A strong defence of delicate things

‘A strong defence of delicate things’, Anna Lucas, Melanie Stidolph, Alice Walton

Auction House, Redruth. 23-27 June (10.30-5pm), evening opening 25 June (6-9pm)

A strong defence of delicate things is the result of an ongoing conversation between three women working with film, photography and found images. This installation brings together photographs from artist’s practice and archives, social media and fashion, staged within a provisional structure. Over five months meeting online the artists developed their shared interest in collaborative looking, working with images that fell loosely within categories of inside & outside, women in the studio, building materials, water, rocks and bodies.

This black and white photograph was taken around 1943, unknown photographer, inside Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, Cornwall. The dark interior of the studio contrasts with the sunlit scene outside, with a still life on the window sill and curtains pulled to one side. On the beach, level with the sill, a woman and a man lie alongside each other. The woman is the artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, the man is likely Robert H Wagner, an American GI who she formed a close relationship with during the war. Both in swimsuits with their legs stretched out, mirroring each other. A shovel leans to one side of the open window, suggesting they have dug their way out through the sand.

More info at

With many thanks to Auction House for the invitation to be part of their programme and special thanks to Liam Jolly for his support. Thank you to the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust both for their kind image permission and generous financial support of the exhibition.

Front cover image of 'Trethvor' newspaper


Oliver Udy has created a great thing, gathering support from Feast, Arts Council England and Newlyn and The Exchange Gallery in Penzance for Trethvor. He invited us all to be part of it: Michael Eddy / Jasper Fell-Clark / Tor Harrison / Tom Ingate / Melanie Stidolph / Becky Tyrrell.

Trethvor, Cornish for seaside, is an adaptable, itinerant photography exhibition that will celebrate the Cornish coast.
Trethvor takes the form of a newspaper, which can be disassembled to produce an exhibition. It will feature practitioners working in the county, with photography that explores the landscape and the people that make up the diverse communities around the coastline of Cornwall.
Keep an eye out for more soon, including ways to add your voice to the project.

It will be on display in the studio at Newlyn and The Exchange Gallery from Wednesday 19th to coincide with the ‘Seaside Photographed’ exhibition curated by Val Williams and Karen J Shepherdson.

Oli will be running workshops with schools and community groups in Cornwall. 1,000s of copies of the newspaper will be distributed, if you’d like some for your venue, or would like to host a pop-up show, drop Oli a line! Go to @trethvor for more info on the project and Oli’s demo vids!


Image credit: John Hersey

Synesthesia is an online partner funded project by Cultivator Cornwall, developed with The Bridge at Plymouth University and Creative Kernow. My work is featured with 9 other Cornwall based artists, with insightful essays from 4 curators and writers, and portraits by John Hersey

A big thank you to writer Lizzie Lloyd for her essay on my work ‘A body in parts, interjects’. We had a long conversation, and then another, thank you Lizzie for your insights and precise and elegant phrasing.

‘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.’

Lizzie is a Bristol-based writer, lecturer and researcher, writing for Art Monthly, Art Review amongst others. She has recently completed her Doctoral thesis ‘Art Writing and Subjectivity: Critical Association in Art Historical Practice’. To read more about Lizzie and to download the essay visit the Synesthesia website.

Photomonitor feature

Thank you to Christiane Monarchi, Editor, Photomonitor for the invitation to Stefanie Braun, co-Editor of NU and myself to talk about my series Last Summer. Stefanie invited me to be part of NU, a new pan-European journal, co-edited with Wouter De Broeck.  The first issue is framed around the theme of Habitat.
SB: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.’ 
In the interview I talk about the ‘heart-quickening self-consciousness’ of photographing strangers and the unexpected effect on me of building this body of work.
‘Continuing the series opens the potential for me to react in a more nuanced way to the idea of family I had been holding on to. Through photographing I become open to the generosity of strangers in the moment of encounter, I become part of the scene, if not part of the photograph.’ 
The feature includes three new works, not included in NU, as part of this ongoing series.
A double page spread in a journal.

NU Review Launches today!

NU review launches today! Thank you to editors Stefanie Braun and Wouter De Broeck for the invitation to be part of this new journal.
‘Whatever space and time mean, place and occasion mean more’, thus Aldo Van Eyck set out the programme for an ideal interaction between architecture and our world. NU wants to create and offer both – a place and an occasion. A place for slow reading and quiet reflection, a hub for fragile creations and brittle thoughts.’ Excerpt from Foreword
NU (meaning now in Dutch) is a new publication that aims to be a platform for connecting and reconnecting, where the ‘now’ offers a pause, a moment for unexpected encounters and a shelter for openness. Each issue will focus on a different subject matter that the editors feel is relevant now and explore it through the work and reflections of our diverse group of contributors. The first issue focuses on habitat. Contributions from Danny Treacy, Deborah Siebenhofer, Frank Willems, Igor Moritz, Irina De Herdt, James Bacchi-Andreoli, James Peake, Joanna Piotrowska, Kathrin Blum, Marjan Suffys, Melanie Stidolph, Roeland Peeters, Sylvie Marie and Wouter De Broeck. Available in print and downloadable pdf from

Archives & Editions

Thank you for the invitation @archives_and_editions – especially Zoe Childerley and Sacha Lehrfreund for the In Conversation this past week. Great to share ideas of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and remote image making with you. Image here from Zoe Childerley.