Marie-Alix Isdahl


Tooth Optics

Through this hybrid practice-theory PhD, I aim to examine and rethink photographic forms and image/object relations in the arts against the wider backdrop of the aesthetic regimes and counter-regimes of the Anthropocene. Following art practices which deal with a reworked tradition of still life, for example those of artist-photographer Diane Severin Nguyen, I am developing a body of work studying the “bare minimum requirements for ‘life’ to be felt” in an image, in an approach which may trouble dichotomies of animate and inanimate, toxic and pure, skin and core. Central to this practice is a concern with our capacities to perceive and connect with passing, perishable physical states within non-human matter and sites, as material or bodily extensions of “the poor image” (Nguyen 2019). In my research, I take notice of insights from the non-representational turn, as I attempt to show some possibilities for how to reclaim the optical properties of the image whilst critically embodying photography's essentialising inheritance.

In its efforts to uncover or test the limits of the photographic image, this project will manifest not only as images, but also as text, materials on titanium white mining, waste, rocks, subtitles and collage.

The project is supported with a grant from the Henry Moore Foundation.



Dr Nina Wakeford
Dr Ros Gray