A scanned image of a mushroom by artist Alice Campos.

Image courtesy Alice Campos, 2022

Alice Campos is a British artist and curator based in south east London. She has been observing Pestalotiopsis Microspora Fungus, which can break down synthetic plastic polymers, which can be found in the resin coating of most photographic papers. Alice has grown oyster mushrooms from spores and Resin Photographic waste papers. As part of our exhibition, Acts of Resistance: Photography, Feminisms and the Art of Protest, she will be working with the SLG to recycle some of the works in the show to reduce the exhibition waste. We spoke to her about her work and she shares step by step instructions on how you can do this at home.

Introduce yourself! Tell us a little bit about you and your work.

My practice gathers the disciplines of Alternative Analogue and Cameraless Photography, Moving Image, Sound and Writing. I work both independently and collaboratively, some notable exhibitions have included; Berlin Short Film Festival (2017), South London Gallery (2018), Art Rotterdam (2021), Saatchi Gallery (2022) Haute Photographie (2023) and Paris Photo (2023).

My practice investigates ecology and feminist theories, whilst looking back on the genealogies of such subjects as myth and spirituality. I am particularly drawn to the writings of Marina Warner and Susan Stewart, with theories that often trail throughout my practice. I often create multidisciplinary installations that explore and connect meaning making, whether that be in the form of Sustainability or Craft. As seen here, the degradation potential of Mushrooms and Analogue Photography.

What drew you to photography as a medium?

Over the years, my research has evolved around the writings of Lyle Rexer, in particular Photography’s Antiquarian Avant-Garde. This book explores the ways in which contemporary photographers rebel against the advent of digital technology, by their reversion to photographic methods used in the nineteenth century. Both my artistic and curatorial practices have extensively drawn on ideas of stepping into the past as a way to reimagine and redirect not only the photographic object, but also the act of photography itself, to better interpret the present

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You’ll be recycling some of the prints from the South London Gallery’s exhibition, Acts of Resistance: Photography, Feminisms and the Art of Protest. Are there any works in this exhibition that stand out to you / speak to you? How does this show relate to your own work?

I was taken aback by seeing Poulomi Basu’s photographic works within Acts of Resistance. Her work was also in the exhibition Re/Sisters at Barbican. This show proved to be a turning point in my way of thinking about curatorial applications when exploring themes of: activism, feminist photography and ecology. The photographic works by Poulomi Basu inspired me by the ways she combines magical realism and the fantastical when capturing the ecological issues experienced by womxn in the global south with photography.

When did you first start recycling prints in this way? Why is this something you do/what motivates you to do this?

Reusing and recycling prints was always within my practice from the moment I stepped into the darkroom, whether that be in the form of self-publications with test strips or personal cards for people to take away, almost a memento mori to the prints that didn’t become something more.

However, I was on a residency that specifically focused on sustainability in photography and it was here where I was fortunate enough to learn, explore and gain knowledge on the potential of Oyster Mushrooms ability to degrade Resin Coated Papers.

What’s next for you? What are you working on at the moment?

I have just joined the Photobook Café team in Shoreditch as their Assistant Gallery Manager, where I am working closely with Matt Martin, Artist, Co- Founder and Gallery Manager, as well as Photographer, Zine Maker and Curator. Together we are curating an upcoming PBC Programme and supporting both established and emerging photographers with curating exhibitions, book launches and workshops. And very much intertwined with my position at Photobook Café, I’m starting the MFA Contemporary Curation degree at Goldsmiths University this September. Both will run alongside my practical position as Darkroom Technician at Art Hub, where we are currently facilitating a free Darkroom Residency for four emerging photographers. All opportunities that I am extremely grateful to have, and hope to share these with others with curatorial ventures and direction for emerging photographers.

I’m currently working on an open call photography exhibition, Ethereality, which will be at Photobook Café from 24 July 2024. 

Where can people find you/follow you?

You can find me on Instagram or my website.

I am available and always interested to hear from other photographers or curators about exhibitions or curatorial opportunities. Please get in touch!

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Materials required:

  • Container
  • Oyster Mushroom Spores
  • Soil/Straw
  • Resin Coated Papers for recycling
  • Gloves
  • Spray Bottle
  • Water
  • Tin Foil


  • Mix the mushroom spawn with damped straw, you can dampen your straw by spraying it with sterile water.
  • You can add your Resin coated paper at this point, mixing it up with your spores.
  • Then place the damp straw into a box or bag, plastic tubs work well and can enable you to check your paper easier along the way.
  • Seal and leave the box for around six weeks, ensuring it is kept damp, you can do this by spraying it with sterile water.
  • Make sure the spot you choose is sheltered, dark and between 20-25ºC.
  • As the straw breaks down, the mushrooms spawn will grow into it, colonising the straw.

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We’ve been working to make all of our exhibitions and work at the SLG more sustainable. Please read our exhibition environment statement to find out more.

We recognise there is more work to be done in relation to reducing the carbon footprint of our exhibitions and will continue to work on this through the SLG’s regular environment meetings.

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