Daniel Meadows

Daniel Meadows (b. 28.01.52), English documentary photographer.

Daniel Meadows became a photographer after visiting the Bill Brandt retrospective at London's Hayward Gallery in the summer of 1970. "I was amazed how he used his camera as a passport to slip between the social classes," says Meadows. "After ten years cooped up in miserable boarding schools I was fizzing with curiosity about the wider world and desperate to adventure beyond the narrow world of my upbringing. Brandt showed the way."

Since then, as a photographer, documentarian and digital storyteller, Daniel Meadows has spent a lifetime recording British society, challenging the status quo by working in a collaborative way to capture extraordinary aspects of ordinary life through pictures, audio recordings and short movies.

With Peter Fraser, Brian Griffin, Charlie Meecham and Martin Parr, Daniel Meadows studied at Manchester Polytechnic (1970-73). While a student he was particularly inspired by a lecture from Bill Jay (editor of Creative Camera and Album) who made him understand that his future in photography was something he needed to determine for himself.

In 1973-74 Meadows undertook a famous journey around England in the Free Photographic Omnibus. Travelling 10,000 miles he made 958 portraits from the converted double-decker which was home, gallery and darkroom, running free portrait sessions on the streets of 22 different British towns and cities. In the 1990s he revisited this project, photographing again some of the same people for his widely published series National Portraits: Now & Then.

Later (1975-77) Meadows was photographer-in-residence to the Borough of Pendle in Lancashire and it was here that he completed the series of extended photo-essays that was celebrated in the Camerawork touring show Shuttles, Steam & Soot (1978).

Meadows pioneering community storytelling project BBC Capture Wales (2001-08) encouraged many hundreds of people across Wales to embrace the arrival of the digital age in pop-up workshops by making their own two minutes of TV, framing their memories and pictures into digital stories, 'multimedia sonnets from the people' as he called them. Capture Wales won a BAFTA Cymru in 2002.

Meadows taught the documentary photography course with David Hurn in Newport (1983-94); also photojournalism (1994-2001) and digital storytelling (2000-2012) at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media & Cultural Studies where he also completed his PhD (2005).

His work has been exhibited widely both in the UK and on the continent of Europe.

Solo shows include ICA London (1975), The Photographers' Gallery London (1987), National Media Museum Bradford (2011). Group shows include Serpentine Gallery, London (1973) and Tate Britain (2007).

Daniel Meadows's books include:
Living Like This - Around Britain in the Seventies (1975)
Nattering In Paradise - A Word from the Suburbs (1987)
National Portraits - Photographs from the 1970' (1997)
The Bus - The Free Photographic Omnibus 1973-2001 (2001)

A detailed and scholarly overview of his early work, Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs from the 70s and 80s by Val Williams, was published in 2011.

Meadows photo-essays done in the industrial north of England in the 1970s are celebrated in the Café Royal Books boxed set edition Eight Stories (2015).

The Daniel Meadows Archive is in the Library of Birmingham (collection reference: MS 2765).

Daniel Meadows

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