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RPS Chandelier From Possession
CREDIT: Julie Derbyshire

Julie Derbyshire

Women in Photography Member

How long have you been photographing?

I have enjoyed taking photographs since childhood and my interest continued for a long time alongside other career paths. About ten years ago I decided I wanted to focus on my passion for photography and I studied for a BA and subsequently an MA.


Can you tell us a little about your practice?

My practice explores themes of fragility and transience through engaging physically and visually with objects and materials. I use the constructed photograph as a final distillation of my creative process. It encompasses acts of making, manipulation and disruption. My fabrications, which are often on a small scale and of a temporary nature, are elevated through the photograph. I like to capture transient moments of precariousness and suspense within the frame and to present a combination of beauty and disquiet in my images.


What inspires your work?

I have many inspirations for my work but I am often influenced by historical sources and personal experiences and references. All my project series have an underlying narrative that feeds into the work.


Where is your favourite place or favourite thing to photograph?

Currently most of my work is studio based and I love working with and photographing materials, paper and porcelain paper clay in particular. I like their sculptural and malleable qualities combined with their innate fragility. I have a strong connection with objects, both found and handmade. I think still life photography offers a new way of looking and a chance to take time and reflect on the ephemerality of life. When I’m not in the studio I love being in and photographing the natural landscape. 


Who is your favourite female photographer and why?

There are many female photographers, contemporary and historical, whose work I admire but if I had to whittle it down I would choose three:

Erin Shirreff whose work I discovered as a student. I have been inspired by her blurring of the lines between two and three-dimensional space (working with photography and sculpture), her interest in the temporal qualities of objects and materials and the ways in which she renders sculptural forms in two dimensions.

Laura Letinsky for her still life arrangements that explore the question of what a photograph is, its transformative abilities and its relationship with reality.

Emily Allchurch whose detailed photo-collages reference early masterpieces but are re-contextualised to create relevant contemporary narratives.


Any words of advice for female photographers starting out?

I am still at the early stages of my practice too but what I would offer is: find your own voice and be persistent.


What’s next for you?

I have three ongoing bodies of work and I have a couple of new project ideas that I am planning to explore soon, one outside the studio for a change. The pandemic has restricted exhibition opportunities but I have a group exhibition already in the offing and hopefully more will emerge as some form of normality starts to return. I also want to investigate the possibilities that online exhibiting offers.


Where can we see your work?

A selection of recent work is available to view on my website ( and on the website of the Pollen Collective ( I also have an Instagram account (@juliederbyshire) where I often post ongoing work in progress.

RPS Chandelier From Possession
CREDIT: Julie Derbyshire
RPS Envelop(E) From Possession
RPS Flora Dislocata 1
RPS Mythical Tales 1
RPS Relief From Pietra Paesina
RPS Transience I From Fragile Alchemy