Photography lecturer showcases ‘dystopian view of future’ in London

15 September 2015

A photography lecturer at the University of Derby, who has been studying a Masters degree alongside teaching, is to showcase her ‘dystopian view of the future’ in London this week.

Stephanie Rushton, who teaches on the BA (Hons) Commercial Photography course at the University, signed up to the MA Film and Photography degree last year and has spent the last two semesters creating her final body of work. 

‘The Archaea’ presents a vision of the future brought about through humankind’s abuse and neglect of the natural world through a series of digital photographs.

Now she is to showcase her final Masters project at Campbell Works, in London, from today (Tuesday, September 15) until Saturday, September 19. 

Stephanie said: “I’ve wanted to do an MA for the past five years to engage with a more conceptual approach of photography.

“I was a commercial photographer working in London doing fashion editorial and advertising before I came to Derby so undertaking this course has been great and has given me the opportunity to explore something totally different.

“My work is really about ecology and the environment and a belief that we are losing our connection to the earth. Archaea, refers to the kingdom of single cell organisms with the simplest known molecular structure, thought to be the closest living ancestor to the origin of all life on earth.”

Stephanie said she was inspired by J.G. Ballard’s novel The Drowned World and the ‘jungle’ paintings by Max Ernst to create her work.

The high-contrast, backlit, large scale photographs of tangled, botanical organisms were created in the studio before being manipulated with a digital technique to produce a dream-like quality.

Stephanie, who apprenticed iconic British photographer David Bailey for five years, said: “I’m excited to be showcasing my work in London. My husband is a sculptor and has shown there many times over the years. It is a great space for an inaugural show and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”

MA Film and Photography student Sacha Ferrier is also exhibiting his work this month.

Stephanie Rushton-with her work

He is showcasing his final degree project, Penthos, at the University of Derby’s Britannia Mill Studios until Sunday, September 20 at the MA Photography Show.

Through the use of both analogue and digital photography, Sacha has created images and an accompanying book showing his visual examination of grief.

Sacha said: “I am interested in human desire to search for relief or explanation. Although the stages of grief are often characterised as culturally universal, their effects are as individual as the person affected.

“Grief can, at times, appear to be short-lived, leaving no obvious, lasting damage. In some cases, however, the emotional torment and scars leave irreparable consequences.

“I aim to show how the unfathomable process of grief places its quarry within a desolate and abstruse state of mind, where normality becomes distant, and escape beyond reach.”

Dr Philip Harris, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Photography at the University of Derby, said: “We are very impressed with the dedication, creative commitment and depth of thought that both Stephanie and Sacha have shown in their work for the MA.

“Both exhibitions are a showcase for what we do in photography at Derby.”