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.

Still from 'Treyarnon' film

Screening: Cornish Slates

Delighted that the first film, (made with real film!), I made with Rachael Jones, has been selected for the next Cornish Slates screening. Treyarnon was due to be screened as part of the event on 25 March 2020, but this is now being rescheduled for later in the year. Film made with the support of Cultivator Cornwall.

Artists Supporting PPE

April 2020 – Artist Oliver Raymond-Barker set up Artists Supporting PPE to support Concept Shed run by Sam Lanyon and his non-profit team, who are mass producing face shields for the NHS, either at cost price or for free. To help support this endeavour a community of artists from across the South West have generously donated artworks for sale, with 100% of proceeds going directly to Sam’s CoVisor project. Thank you to the lovely supporter who brought my Windfall print, the initiative brought in over £1,500.

Grant: Cultivator

THANK YOU Cultivator! I have been awarded an Individual Skills Development grant by Cultivator, Cornwall for online review sessions to support book in progress: Endless Reproduction. The work is from the years I was unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant. They merge the frustrations and increased medical interventions of trying to conceive, with the mechanical processes and failures of photography. The grant will enable me to connect directly with curators and publishers for advice on making the book a reality.

Screen shot, photograph of Melanie Stidolph

Conference: Agile Structures

Agile Structures by Sovay Berriman and Sara Bowler was a great online conference over 4 days from 24 to 27 June 2020. Talks and resources from Cinzia Mutigli, Holly Davey, Shama Khanna and Ceri Hand amongst others. Lovely check-ins over breakfast with curators, producers and artists across the region. I introduced book in progress Endless Reproduction in the Speed Show on Friday 26 June. Thanks for the opportunity Sara and Sovay, great to share book for the first time with other presenters; Katy Richardson, Delpha Hudson, Helen Trevaskis and Kitty Hillier. Thank you everyone for the feedback. #agilestructures2020