Pioneer Daniel Meadows enjoys retrospective in Early Photographic Works at Ffotogallery

By Ben Miller | 11 July 2012
A close up photo of a person's blue suit jacket covered in comic badges
Daniel Meadows, from the series June Street, Salford (1972)© Daniel Meadows
Exhibition: Daniel Meadows – Early Photographic Works, Ffotogallery, Penarth, July 14 – September 8 2012

Daniel Meadows studied alongside Martin Parr in the early 1970s, creating pithy, witty snapshots of Britain's social patchwork alongside similarly visionary peers such as Brian Griffin, Charlie Meecham and Peter Fraser. So it’s no surprise to see him defined as a “documentarist” in the build-up to this major retrospective.

A black and white photo of a young boy and girl standing up while wearing raincoats
From the series Shop on Greame Street (1972)
© Daniel Meadows
It’s his first exhibition in Wales, where he has lived and worked for the past 30 years, including a spell as the figurehead of the BBC’s Capture Wales, a digital project which ran for five years from 2001.

And it looks back through his complex record of urban society, beginning with his first studio, in 1972, when he portrayed local residents while working out of a former barber’s shop in the Moss Side area of Manchester.

Two of his early projects with Martin Parr, Butlins by the Sea, 1972 and June Street, 1973 tell the story of working class households in Salford (the buildings have long since been demolished) and a North Yorkshire holiday camp following the heyday of such resorts.

The most endearing aspects of the exhibition might come in reminders of the Free Photographic Omnibus, a 14-month tour in which he created free portraits for people while circumnavigating England, curiously, in a 25-year-old double-decker bus-turned-darkroom.

A series of two-minute video features, created as “multimedia sonnets” during his digital discoveries with the BBC, also feature alongside an accompanying publication exploring prints, negatives, ephemera and audio recordings from bygone photographic studios, created in collaboration with co-curator Val Williams.

  • Open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5pm. Admission free.

More pictures:

A photo of a detail of a blue jacket covered in badges
From the series Butlin's by the Sea (1972)
© Daniel Meadows
A black and white photo of two young girls standing in profile during the 1970s
From the series Free Photographic Omnibus (1973-74)© Daniel Meadows
A photo of two women outside a shop with a black and white floor during the 1970s
From Butlin's by the Sea© Daniel Meadows
A black and white photo of two young men standing side by side in matching shirts
From Free Photographic Omnibus© Daniel Meadows
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