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Daniel Meadows

Daniel Meadows and the Free Photographic Omnibus, December 1974. Self-portrait photographed using a tripod and timer.
Daniel Meadows (born 1952) is an English photographer turned maker of digital stories, and a teacher of photography turned teacher of participatory media.


  • Life and career as photographer 1
  • Career as teacher and digital storyteller 2
  • Selected exhibitions 3
    • Solo exhibitions 3.1
    • Joint and group exhibitions 3.2
  • Permanent collections 4
  • Publications 5
    • Books of work by Meadows 5.1
    • Zines of work by Meadows 5.2
    • Other appearances 5.3
  • Awards 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Life and career as photographer

Meadows was born in Great Washbourne, Gloucestershire, "in the middle of nowhere on the edge of the Cotswolds", on 28 January 1952. Both of his parents had Suffolk origins; his father was a land agent for the Dumbleton Estate, in which the family lived; his mother developed multiple sclerosis when Daniel was young and this gradually became more acute. He spent his early years without television.[1]

With Peter Fraser, Brian Griffin, Charlie Meecham and Martin Parr, Meadows studied at Manchester Polytechnic.[2] (Meadows' 1972 series June Street was a collaboration with Parr.[3]) While a student he was particularly inspired by a lecture by Bill Jay (editor of Creative Camera and Album) and an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery of work by Bill Brandt.[3]

Meadows was living in the Moss Side area of Manchester during termtime, and was aware of its impending demolition. With its many small shops, Moss Side might, he thought, support a "picture shop", so he rented a barber's on Greame Street from January 1972, inviting people to come into the Free Photographic Shop to have their photographs taken for no charge.[3] Two months later he had run out of money and had to close but had gained useful experience.[4]

Double portrait from Barrow-in-Furness taken in October 1974 by Daniel Meadows. One of a series of portraits (sometimes referred to as National Portraits) which Meadows made from the Free Photographic Omnibus. The man on the left has been identified as James (or Jimmy) Connor (or O'Connor). On the right is David Balderstone. This picture appears on the front cover of the book Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs from the 70s and 80s by Val Williams.
Inspired by what Bill Jay had said about Benjamin Stone's travel around Britain by horse-drawn caravan, Meadows thought of a mobile version of the Greame Street studio; the Cliff Richard film Summer Holiday suggested a solution.[3] He worked at Butlin's Holiday Camp at Filey during summer 1972 to pay for the publicity materials with which he hoped to get Arts Council and other funding for the purchase and one year's use of a double-decker bus.[5][6] He succeeded and for 14 months from September 1973 travelled around England in the Free Photographic Omnibus,[2] a 1947 Leyland PD1 bus whose seats had been removed to make space for a darkroom and living quarters: its windows were used as the gallery.[7][n 1] Meadows took this to twenty or more towns.[3] Some of this work was published in Meadows' first book, Living Like This (1975), which combined Meadows' photographs and text with first-person accounts of those he had talked with.[2]

Among the photographs of this series is Portsmouth: John Payne, aged 12, with two friends and his pigeon, Chequer, 26 April 1974.[8] Payne, holding his pigeon in the centre of the photograph, told Meadows that he caught and bred pigeons.[9] Paul Cabuts writes that:

The photograph, like many other photographs in the exhibition [No Such Thing as Society], offers a window on a lost world, one that is difficult to perceive without considerable culturally-specific contextualisation. Meadows' photograph is however a masterstroke in providing clues about the life and times of those recorded through his lens. The boys became the subject, although the pigeon had been the vehicle for this particular engagement. In offering up their pigeon (the photograph was taken at their request), we enter a world of friendship and pride, the social activities on a working class housing estate. . . .[10]

With its echo of Ken Loach's film Kes, the photograph was widely reproduced.[11] It was the cover photograph of the 1975 Arts Council anthology British Image 1 and the photograph on the poster for and catalogue of the 2008 travelling Hayward exhibition No Such Thing as Society.

Meadows went on to photograph the northwest of England and Factory Records in the 1970s and in the 1980s to study the people of a middle-class London suburb (Bromley,[12] although not specified at the time), the latter published as Nattering in Paradise.[2]

His photographic archive is in the process of being acquired by the Library of Birmingham.[13]

Career as teacher and digital storyteller

Meadows became interested in teaching while photographing in Lancashire in the 1970s; in 1983

  • Daniel Meadows' site
  • Daniel Meadows at the Wayback Machine (archived 4 October 2012) at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies
  • Capture Wales.
    • Original site with videos in Real Media format
    • Newer site with videos in Flash format (together with other material)
  • Frost, Thomas. "Joy Division and Daniel Meadows" at the Wayback Machine (archived 12 December 2010).
  • Meadows, Daniel. "Introduction to Digital Storytelling" BBC Wales.
  • Meadows, Daniel, Lisa Heledd, and Carwyn Evans. "How Public Broadcasting Serves the Public Interest in the Digital Age" (PDF). Transcript of a paper presented to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image on 5 February 2006.
  • Steele, Heather Louise. "Cameras, Joy Division and a Double-Decker Bus..." at the Wayback Machine (archived 27 August 2011). Snapshots and snippets, 12 November 2009

External links

  1. ^ The Bus, 63–67; Meadows' description of Great Washbourne is on p.65.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Daniel Meadows Archives" at the Wayback Machine (archived 3 March 2012), PARC Projects, Photography and the Archive Research Centre.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Phil Coomes, "Daniel Meadows on digital literacy", BBC News in Pictures, 15 November 2011. Accessed 2 May 2012.
  4. ^ Daniel Meadows, Living Like This, pp. 9–10.
  5. ^ Meadows, Living Like This, p.12.
  6. ^ David Allan Mellor, No Such Thing as Society: Photography in Britain 1967–87: From the British Council and the Arts Council Collection (London: Hayward, 2007), p.32.
  7. ^ Meadows, Living Like This, pp. 14, 16.
  8. ^ The title has been given in various forms; this is how it appears on the copyright page and p.32 of No Such Thing as Society (2007).
  9. ^ British Image 1, p.40 (the photograph appears opposite, and is titled John Payne from Portsmouth, aged 12); Living Like This, p.61 (the photograph appears on the same page, and, like many in the book, is not given a title).
  10. ^ Paul Cabuts, "Three boys and a pigeon: Photography in Wales", Planet 196. Reproduced here on Cabuts' site. Accessed 3 November 2010.
  11. ^ David Alan Mellor, No Such Thing as Society, p.32.
  12. ^ Val Williams, Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs from the 70s and 80s (Brighton: Photoworks, 2011), 220, 221, 224.
  13. ^
  14. ^ David Alan Mellor, No Such Thing as Society: Photography in Britain 1967–1987: From the British Council and the Arts Council Collection (London: Hayward Publishing, 2007), 217.
  15. ^ Tim Hetherington, "The Big Issue", Source. Accessed 1 November 2010.
  16. ^ a b c Potted biography, "Artists", Projections of Reality. Accessed 1 November 2010.
  17. ^ Daniel Meadows, "The Electric Engagement", pp. 94–96 within Daniel Meadows and Jenny Kidd, "Capture Wales: The BBC Digital Storytelling Project"; in John Hartley and Kelly McWilliam, eds, Story Circle: Digital Storytelling around the World (Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley, 2009; ISBN 978-1-4051-8059-7), pp. 91–117.
  18. ^ Therese Nolan-Brown, "Digital storytelling at QUT: A survey of digital storytelling projects and activities" at the Wayback Machine (archived October 2, 2009) (PDF), Queensland University of Technology, 10 May 2008.
  19. ^ John Hartley and Kelly McWilliam, "Computational Power Meets Human Contact", in Hartley and McWilliam, eds, Story Circle: Digital Storytelling around the World, p.6.
  20. ^ Williams, Daniel Meadows, 240, 241.
  21. ^ a b Williams, Daniel Meadows, 240, 243.
  22. ^ Williams, Daniel Meadows, 240.
  23. ^ a b Val Williams, Look at Me: Fashion and Photography in Britain 1960 to the Present: A Touring Exhibition Curated by Brett Rogers and Val Williams (London: British Council, 1998), 127.
  24. ^ Invitation card from the Photographers' Gallery for a private viewing of "Suburbia", "The World Over" (
  25. ^ Val Williams, ed., National Portraits: Photographs from the 1970s (Salford: Viewpoint Photography Gallery; Derby: Montage Gallery, 1997).
  26. ^ List of past exhibitions, Irish Gallery of Photography. Accessed 30 October 2010
  27. ^ Robert Murphy, "Going back to the Future", Evening Standard, 18 May 2001. Accessed 6 June 2014.
  28. ^ Exhibition notice, National Media Museum. Accessed 29 April 2012.
  29. ^ Liz Jobey, "Street life" at the Wayback Machine (archived 4 September 2011), Financial Times, 2 September 2011.
  30. ^ Exhibition notice, Redeye. Accessed 29 April 2012.
  31. ^ Exhibition notice, Ffotogallery. Accessed 6 June 2014.
  32. ^ Ben Miller, "Pioneer Daniel Meadows enjoys retrospective in Early Photographic Works at Ffotogallery",, 11 July 2012. Accessed 6 June 2014.
  33. ^ "Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works", Library of Birmingham. Accessed 2014-06-06.
  34. ^
  35. ^ Williams, Daniel Meadows, 239.
  36. ^ Serpentine Photography 73: The Arts Council Presents Work by 43 Young Photographers (London: Serpentine Gallery, 1973). Exhibition catalogue.
  37. ^ a b "The Other Britain Revisited: Photographs from New Society", Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010. Accessed 2 May 2010.
  38. ^ Exhibition notice, Kunsthal. Accessed 29 April 2012.
  39. ^ Blake Morrison, "Think of England", Guardian, 19 May 2007. Accessed 6 June 2014.
  40. ^ Benjamin Secher, "Portraits of a strange land", Daily Telegraph, 14 May 2007. Accessed 22 January 2010.
  41. ^ Exhibition notice, Stephen Bulger Gallery. Accessed 1 November 2010.
  42. ^ David Balzer, "The Prince of Tides" at the Wayback Machine (archived 10 February 2007), Toronto Life, January 2007.
  43. ^ Press release for the exhibition, British Council. Accessed 15 February 2009.
  44. ^ Jon Savage, "Tories, turmoil and tank tops", The Guardian, 24 March 2008. Accessed 6 June 2014.
  45. ^ List of projects, Projections of Reality. Accessed 1 November 2010.
  46. ^ Карина Абдусаламова, "Проекции реальности: столкновения с (не)знакомым", Vostok Inform. Accessed 1 November 2010.
  47. ^ "Негатив в шоколаде", Kommersant. Accessed 1 November 2010.
  48. ^ Exhibition aarchive, Fotonow. Accessed 6 June 2014.
  49. ^ Mac Birmingham Summer Brochure 1011, Accessed 30 April 2012.
  50. ^ Search results, Victoria and Albert Museum.
  51. ^ "The Art Fund helps Birmingham Central Library secure important photographic legacy for the nation" at the Wayback Machine (archived 19 June 2010), the Art Fund, 10 February 2009.
  52. ^ "Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works", Royal Photographic Society, April 2014. Accessed 6 June 2014.
  53. ^ "Daniel Meadows awarded RPS Fellowship" at the Wayback Machine (archived 20 February 2012), Cardiff School of Journalism, Media, and Cultural Studies, 22 September 2008.


  1. ^ The bus survives, in the possession of The Transport Museum, Wythall. In April 2014 it was described as "being renovated and restored" ("Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works", Royal Photographic Society). The Transport Museum shows the bus here ("From Our Collection: Barton JRR 404"), describing it as built in 1948.
  2. ^ The page about The Bus of the company that has taken over Harvill is here. A review: David Heathcote, "Another look at British identity", Eye, Autumn 2001.
  3. ^ Photoworks' page about The Bus is here.
  4. ^ Café Royal's page about Stockport Gypsies 1971 is here.
  5. ^ Café Royal's page about Bancroft Shed Weaving 1976 is here.
  6. ^ Café Royal's page about Bancroft Shed Engine House 1976 is here.
  7. ^ Café Royal's page about Weldone Boiler Fluers 1976–1977 is here.
  8. ^ Café Royal's page about Steeplejack 1976 is here.
  9. ^ Café Royal's page about Pig Killing 1975–1976 is here.
  10. ^ Café Royal's page about Welfare State International 1976–1983 is here.
  11. ^ Café Royal's page about Clayton Ward 1978 is here.
  12. ^ Café Royal's page about Eight Stories is here. The short films can all be found at Daniel Meadows' page at Vimeo here.



  • British Image 1: Photographs by Homer Sykes, Claire Schwob, John Myers, Daniel Meadows, Bryn Campbell, Roslyn Banish, Ian Dobbie, and Paul Carter. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1975. Meadows' "The Free Photographic Omnibus" appears on pp. 38–49.
  • Julian Bream: A Life on the Road. London: Macdonald, 1982. ISBN 0-356-07880-9. About the lutenist Julian Bream. Text by Tony Palmer, photographs by Meadows.
  • God in Wales Today: Religion in a Cathedral Town. The Newport Survey 6. Newport: Gwent College of Higher Education, 1986. ISBN 0-9507317-5-7. Edited by Meadows.
  • Education: The 5 Rs: Reading, Riting, Rithmetic, Right, Rong: A Photographic Survey of Education in Newport. The Newport Survey 8. Newport: Gwent College of Higher Education, 1988. ISBN 0-9507317-7-3. Edited by Meadows.
  • Look at Me: Fashion and Photography in Britain 1960 to the Present: A Touring Exhibition Curated by Brett Rogers and Val Williams. London: British Council, 1998. ISBN 0-86355-389-3.
  • Love Stories. Granta 68. New York: Granta, 1999. ISBN 0-9645611-8-2. Ed. Ian Jack. Includes "Then and Now" by Meadows.
  • How We Are: Photographing Britain from the 1840s to the Present, ed. Val Williams and Susan Bright. London: Tate Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-1-85437-714-2.
  • No Such Thing as Society: Photography in Britain 1967–1987: From the British Council and the Arts Council Collection, by David Alan Mellor. London: Hayward Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-1-85332-265-5.

Other appearances

  • Stockport Gypsies 1971. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. First in a series of eight zines by Meadows. Edition of 200 copies.[n 4]
  • Bancroft Shed Weaving 1976. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200 copies.[n 5]
  • Bancroft Shed Engine House 1976. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200 copies.[n 6]
  • Weldone Boiler Fluers 1976–1977. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200 copies.[n 7]
  • Steeplejack 1976. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200 copies.[n 8]
  • Pig Killing 1975–1976. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200 copies.[n 9]
  • Welfare State International 1976–1983. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200 copies.[n 10]
  • Clayton Ward 1978. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200 copies.[n 11]
  • Eight Stories. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 50 copies. Box set with eight Café Royal publications and a DVD of short films corresponding to each book.[n 12]

Zines of work by Meadows

  • Daniel Meadows. Living Like This: Around Britain in the Seventies. London: Arrow, 1975. ISBN 0-09-911400-3.
  • Daniel Meadows. Nattering in Paradise: A Word from the Suburbs. London: Simon & Schuster, 1988. ISBN 0-671-69890-7. With Sara Tibbetts.
  • Daniel Meadows. Set Pieces: Being about Film Stills Mostly. London: BFI, 1993. ISBN 0-85170-389-5, ISBN 0-85170-390-9.
  • Daniel Meadows. National Portraits: Photographs from the 1970s. Edited by Val Williams. Salford: Viewpoint Photography Gallery; Derby: Montage Gallery, 1997. ISBN 0-901952-81-8.
  • Daniel Meadows. The Bus: The Free Photographic Omnibus, 1973–2001: An Adventure in Documentary. London: Harvill, 2001. ISBN 1-86046-842-X.[n 2]
  • Val Williams. Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs from the 70s and 80s. Brighton: Photoworks, 2011. ISBN 1-903796-46-6.[n 3]

Books of work by Meadows


Permanent collections

Joint and group exhibitions

Solo exhibitions

Selected exhibitions

Since this time Meadows has also lectured widely about digital storytelling.[16]

From 2001 to 2006 Meadows was creative director of Capture Wales, a BBC Wales project: "[he] accomplished an innovative reworking of the Californian [CDS] model, adapting it to the 'media ecology' of UK public broadcasting".[19]

Meadows' interest in participatory media was greatly influenced by Ivan Illich's ideas as presented in Tools for Conviviality;[3] and his interest in digital storytelling influenced by, successively, Pedro Meyer's I Photograph to Remember, Meyer's ZoneZero website, and the NextExit website of Dana Atchley of the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) at UCB. Meadows taught an undergraduate course titled "Digital Storytelling and Photography" and also contemplated ways of adding digital storytelling to the website he was building about the Free Photographic Omnibus and the later lives of the people this had depicted. Meadows corresponded with Dana Atchley and arranged to attend one of the "boot camps" held by Atchley, Joe Lambert and Nina Mullen. Atchley was too ill to appear, but at the camp and a subsequent event at Ben Lomond he learned and exchanged ideas.[17][18]


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