Stephen Vaughan

Stephen Vaughan

Lecturer in Photography - University of Plymouth

My photographic research engages with ideas connected to geology, archaeology, history and memory. My work is concerned, on one level, with the scrutiny of natural processes and phenomena and, on another level, with the landscape as a site of encounter and revelation.

Opened Landscape: Lindow, Tollund, Grauballe, is a response to the remarkable archaeological discoveries made at particular bogland sites - where the landscape itself is a system of memory; and where preserved bodies or artefacts connect us with ancient historical and human events. The scrutiny of exposed, ancient surfaces links the contemporary landscape directly to the Iron Age and Neolithic past.

In Ultima Thule, the persistent human urge to explore unknown territory is considered within the context of complex geological processes, over vast periods of time. Tectonic shifts in the Earth's crust are the invisible engine of change, evidenced here in volcanic fissures and steaming sulphurous pools. My photographs scrutinise the Earth as it emerges and forms, and as it is sculpted by glacial ice. The potential for transformation from beneath the surface or beyond the threshold is central to this exploration.

My recent work was made on an expedition alongside a group of volcanologists and earth scientists, looking at ice-volcano interaction in Iceland's sub-glacial volcano, Grimsvotn. The series Grimsvotn - Gigjukvisl looks at both the volcano eruption zone and at the site of the resulting Jokulhaup (glacial flood), where the Gigjukvisl river enters the vast Skeidararsandur outwash plain.

Born Cheshire, England, 1968
BA (Hons) Performing Arts/Music De Montfort University, Leicester, 1989
MA Photography University of Brighton, 2006

Represented by The Photographers' Gallery, London (

Solo Exhibitions
2009 Lindow Moss: A Place of Finding Manchester Museum
2008 Ultima Thule Impressions Gallery, Bradford
Opened Landscape: Lindow, Tollund, Grauballe
Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Photofusion Gallery, London
Picture House, Leicester

Group Exhibitions
Apocalypse - Candace Dwan Gallery, New York
Trace and Transcience - Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, Exeter
Paris-Photo Carrousel de Louvre, Paris
Contemporary Reflections on Photography Brighton Photo Fringe
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Stone in Art
Kenny Schachter Rove Gallery, London
Photo London Royal Academy of Arts
Rehearsing/Samuel Beckett Chelsea SPACE

The Mysterious Bog People: Rituals and Sacrifice in Ancient Europe Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
Escaping: Fugitive Geography Contact Festival of Photography, Toronto

Strange Powers: Bog Bodies and Bog Lands
photographs by Stephen Vaughan and Lennart Larsen, poetry by Seamus Heaney
University of Bradford, Gallery II, in association with the Department of Archaeological Sciences
Trace Editions Hirschl Contemporary Art, London
Dislocation Fringe Club, Hong Kong/Lee Ka-Sing Gallery, Toronto

1998 The Wrestling School: 10 Years - Riverside Studios and touring
1994 Performance Photographs - Manchester City Art Gallery
1994 Dead Soil - Young Vic Theatre

1990 Beckett - Haymarket Theatre, Leicester

Pavilion Commissions Award, 2009
Prix Pictet, 2009 (nominee)
Arts Council England, Individual Artist Award, 2008
Santa Fe Prize for Photography, 2005 (nominee)
Arts Council England, Individual Artist Award, 2003 - 04