What a long way we have come in the last 40 years or so. Back in the early ’70s, documentary photography was still mainly taken in black and white, and the preserve of a very small number of practitioners who had to use film, and then process and develop it either themselves or via a specialist lab, usually at great expense and not a little time… Now, the digital medium has almost completely taken over and almost everyone who has a mobile phone also has a camera. As a visual record and oral history of the early ’70s, the images taken by photographers such as Meadows are priceless, a rare documentation of people and places.
Born in 1952 Daniel Meadows was one of a group of photographers trained at Manchester Polytechnic in the early 1970s (including the internationally renowned photographer Martin Parr), who spearheaded the independent photography movement in Britain, breaking with tradition and infusing the medium with new energies and ways of seeing. In 1973 and 1974 he toured the country in a double decker bus, establishing free studios in towns and cities across the country. Much of the work that ended up in his 1975 book, Living Like This,
has been included in Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs From The ’70s and ’80s
, and published by Photoworks. Written by Val Williams (the curator of the current ways of Looking exhibition at the National Media Museum in Bradford and Professor of the History and Culture of Photography at the University of the Arts London), the early images were taken when the ‘common man’ had became a preoccupation with artists and writers, adding a visual record and recording a oral history in the process.
Together with recently discovered unpublished work from Meadows’ own archive, this book presents his five best known projects: The Shop on Greame Street, 1972, Butlin’s by the Sea, 1972, June Street, Salford, 1973, Nattering in Paradise, 1984 and The Free Photographic Omnibus 1973-74, which was produced while traversing the country in the makeshift bus, up to the far North of England (Northumberland, Cumbria) and down to the far South (Sussex, Hampshire).
In partnership with the University of Brighton MA Photography, Daniel Meadows will be giving a talk at the Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton, Grand Parade, Thursday 8 December, 6.30pm. Tickets can be booked online: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/2545371274 or bought on the door, £7/£3.50
Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs is published by Photoworks