Daniel Meadows at the Library of Birmingham

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In 2009, the Library of Birmingham acquired 12 photographs by photographer Daniel Meadows; now, it is in the process of acquiring his entire photography archive, which includes prints, negatives, notebooks, ephemera and publications.

To celebrate, the Library is showing a selection of material from Meadows’ archive in its gallery space. Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works, curated by writer and curator Val Williams, also features a selection of works from the photography collection at the Library of Birmingham, featuring photographs by 19th century photographer Sir Benjamin Stone, Tony Ray-Jones, Homer Sykes, Anna Fox and Faye Claridge.

“2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Sir Benjamin Stone, so it’s therefore very fitting that we are hosting an exhibition by Daniel Meadows who, inspired by Stone’s 19th century work, sought to encounter, observe and record the lives, trades and pastimes of the people he met in the 1970s,” says Pete James, curator of photography collections at the Library of Birmingham. “We are delighted to be acquiring Daniel’s archive which bears a unique witness to his fascination and passion with people and their ways of life.”


Meadows, one of the most influential figures to emerge from the new wave of British independent photographers in the 1970s, is best known for his Free Photographic Omnibus project where he travelled across England in a double decker bus, which he converted into a darkroom and living space. During the 10,000 mile trip he photographed a thousand people from the 22 towns he visited, re-photographing many of the same people 30 years later. Images from this series are on show alongside other well-known series, June Street, which he made with Martin Parr, and Butlins at Filey.

Meadows’ work offers a unique insight into England, both at work and at leisure, during a critical period in British photographic and social history. Between 1971 and 1987 he produced a comprehensive record of urban society in Britain, through his photography, and interviews with and writing about his subjects.

Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works was originated by the Photography and Archive Research Centre (PARC) at the University of the Arts London in partnership with Ffotogallery, the Library of Birmingham, National Media Museum and Photoworks UK. It runs until 17 August and is located on Level 3 at the Library of Birmingham.


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