I am a photographer, researcher and educator, currently residing in Cambridgeshire, England. After living and studying in South Africa for seventeen years, with a break spent living and working in Germany, I returned to the UK in 1998 as a freelancer and lecturer based in London.
At present, I am Course Leader in Photography at Buckinghamshire New University and have recently submitted my PhD thesis at Middlesex University, London.
ACMurphy Photography was established in 1995 as a collective name for my practice, which incorporates a diverse interest in subject matter and media and is produced for research, publication and exhibition outputs.
Current practice investigates the photograph’s relationship to the museological space and its collections in particular, natural history specimens and is researched via cultural theories in metapsychology, museology and visuality as well as writings on nineteenth century photography. Examples of these projects can be found via the Projects link in the menu below.
Murphy, Alexandra. “The Seeing (and Unseen): Making Photographs of Museological Taxidermy Displays in Pursuit of an Alternative Gaze.” Paper presented at The Animal Gaze Constructed, London Metropolitan University, UK. 6-7 March, 2020.
Murphy, Alexandra. “Forever in Stasis: Dialectical Dynamics between the Photograph and the Taxidermy Specimen.” Paper presented at FORMAT19 FOREVER//NOW Photography Conference and Festival, University of Derby, UK. 15 March, 2019.
Murphy, Alexandra.”The Photograph as Ontological Episteme.” Paper and Display presented at Creative Image 2018 conference, University of Manchester, UK. 26-7 September, 2018.
Murphy, Alexandra. “Specere and the Photograph: Co-Existing in Perpetual States of Preservation.” Paper and Exhibition presented at the Seeing with Animals conference, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, US. 22-26 March, 2017.
Murphy, Alexandra. “Presenting The Spectacular Double Act Of The Photograph And The Taxidermy Specimen.” Paper presented at the Consuming (the) Victorians, BAVS conference, Cardiff University, Wales. 31 Aug – 2 Sept, 2016.
Murphy, Alexandra. “Taxidermy and the Photograph: A Double-Act.” Paper presented at The New and the Novel in the 19th Century, NCSA conference, Lincoln, Nebraska, US. 13-16 April, 2016.
Murphy, Alexandra. “Is Photographing Taxidermy a Double-Defiance of the Death-drive?” Paper presented Visualising the Animal conference, University of Cumbria. 18-19 June 2015.
Murphy, Alexandra. “Is Photographing Taxidermy a Double-Defiance of the Death-drive?” Photographic Display at the Summer Conference, Middlesex University, London. 17-18 June, 2015.
Murphy, Alexandra. “The Museum and the Photograph.” PechaKucha presentation at the Postgraduate Researchers Conference, Middlesex University, London. 10 December, 2014.
Murphy, Alexandra. “An Inert State: Tracing Death through Photographic Medium and Representation.” Poster presented at the Summer Conference, Middlesex University, London. 10 June, 2014.
Project Field Work
2019 Powell-Cotton Museum, Birchington-on-Sea, UK
2015-2018 Natural History Museum, London
2017 The Field Museum, Chicago, US
2016-2017 London Museums: Science Museum; Blythe House; Grant Museum; Wellcome Collection
2016 American Museum of Natural History, New York
2012-2014 Natural History Museum, Tring, UK
2009 Museum of Cambridge, UK
2007-2008 Cambridge University Museum of Zoology, UK
1997: Robben Island, Cape, South Africa – Two-week artist residency
- Animal Afterlives. Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, Nov 2021 – Feb 2022. Solo exhibition.
- A Space of One’s Own. David Parr House, Cambridge, UK, 2020. Online extension of 2009 exhibition.
- Specere. Avenue Gallery, University of Northampton, UK, 2017. Solo exhibition.
- IPE 160. Royal Photographic Society, UK, 2017. Juried group exhibition – shortlisted.
- Co-Existence. Richmond, Kentucky, USA, 2017. Juried group exhibition.
- Visualising the Animal. Carlisle Photography Festival, UK, 2015. Juried group exhibition.
- Royal Photographic Society Biennial Exhibition. The Halequin Gallery, Watford, UK, 2012. Juried group exhibition.
- 2010: Changing Spaces – Empty Shop Window Project, Cambridge, UK
- A Space of My Own. Museum of Cambridge, UK, 2009. Collaboration project and exhibition.
- spirits. Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, UK, 2008. Solo exhibition.
- CamIris 2007. Artworks, Cambridge, UK, 2007. Group exhibition.
- MA Graduating Show. Norwich University College of the Arts, UK, 2007. Exhibition.
- Work. Lauderdale House, London, UK, 2005. Juried group exhibition.
- Fractures: Exhibit B. Mary Ward Centre, London, 2001. Solo exhibition.
- Art, Science & Technology. New Greenham Arts, Newbury, UK, 2000. Juried group exhibition.
- Created Space. Whiteleys, London, 1999. Juried group exhibition.
- Notes From Underground. Dostoevsky Museum, St. Petersburg,1999. Juried group exhibition.
- Land: Crust & Steel. NSA Gallery, Durban, South Africa, 1998. Collaboration exhibition.
- Gross-Stadt. Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, 1998. Solo exhibition.
- Chameleons. Metropolitan Life Gallery, Cape Town, 1998. Solo exhibition.
- 13. Klein Karoo Arts Festival, South Africa, 1997. Group exhibition.
- Fractures: Exhibit A. Café Camissa, Cape Town, 1997. Solo exhibition.
Exhibition Curation & Artist Talks
“Taxidermy Photography as Still Life.” Visiting speaker at Middlesex University, UK. October, 2018.
“Co-Existence.” Co-curated Exhibition at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky, USA. March, 2017: www.seeingwithanimals2017.wordpress.com
Funding, Honours and Awards
Royal Photographic Society. Funding award for research project, Specere II: Fixing the Shadows at the Natural History Museum, London. 2015-16.
The Sir Richard Stapley Trust. Postgraduate funding award for research project, The Uncanny. 2006.
Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship. Shortlisted project, Prison Islands. 2004.
Travel Photographer of the Year. Shortlisted, Single Image Category. 2003.
Robben Island Artist Residency, South Africa. 2-week residency project, The Absent Landscape. 1997.
Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa. Postgraduate funding award for research project, The Photo-transformation of the Human Form. 1995.
Murphy, Alexandra. “Forever in Stasis: Dialectical Dynamics between the Photograph and the Taxidermy Specimen.” In Mythologies, Identities and Territories of Photography: Forever//Now, edited by Gemma Marmalade and Philip Harris, 11-31. UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020.
Murphy, Alexandra. Co-Existence: An Art Exhibition, edited by Julia Schlosser, 40-41, 90, 99. USA: Blurb, 2017.
Murphy, Alexandra. Journey One: Travel Photographer of the Year, edited by Chris Coe, 123. UK: TPOTY, 2005.
Murphy, Alexandra. The Big Issue Book of Home, edited by Eddie Ephraums, 30. UK: Hodder & Stoughton, 2000.
Murphy, Alexandra. What’s Missing?, edited by Eddie Ephraums, 90-97. UK: Argentum, 2000.
Interview by Andrew Cattanach, “Death Becomes Her,” in The Journal 156 (2016): 816.
“Endframe Portfolio.” British Journal of Photography (2004): 43-44.
“Endframe Portfolio.“ British Journal of Photography (2000): 43.
Interview, “Sharing a Vision,” SA Photo (1998): 43.
Interview by Guido Duken, “Beyond the Image,” Directions (1995): 66-71.
(selected editorial work)
“The Good Ship Robin.” British Journal of Photography, 1 January, 2004, 20-21.
“Laugh? I Feel Better Already.” Guardian G2, 25 March, 2003, 14-15.
“Tours.” COLORS 49 magazine, April-May 2002, 42-43.
“Power Houses.” The Observer Magazine, 17 June 2001, 64-69.
“Viva Lass Vegas.” The Mirror, 14 Aug, 2001, 26-27.
“Animal Crackers!” 19 Magazine, July 1998, 62-63.
“Legalised Prostitution: A Licence to Thrill.” ELLE magazine, July 1998, 64-68.
“Writing Wrongs.” Sunday Life magazine, 7 December, 1997, 6-8 and cover.
“Mu’te.” SL magazine, 1995-1998 (monthly publication)
“A Pond Reflecting the Sky.” ADA magazine, 1995, 10-11.
Book Cover Illustrations
Murphy, John Gerard. All God’s Children. UK: Vanguard, 2013.
Gordimer, Nadine. Beethoven was One-sixteenth Black. UK: Bloomsbury, 2008.
Coetzee, J.M. Waiting for the Barbarians. UK: Vintage, 2004.
Jone, Russell Celyn. Surface Tension. UK: Abacus, 2001.
Stewart, Leah. Body of a Girl. UK: Piatkus, 2001.
Christie, Agatha. 4:50 from Paddington. UK: Macmillan Audio, 2001.
Hepburn, Susan. Missing. UK: Piatkus, 2001.
Examples of editorial publications can be seen on my Editorial page.