Iconic British photographer Daniel Meadows has been documenting the world around him for almost half a century. He calls it celebrating "the felt life of the great ordinary." Throughout this time, Daniel has encountered and captured strangers all over England.
Fiercely independent, Meadows has had a unique artistic journey. He first ran a free portrait studio in Manchester’s Moss Side in 1972. Then he traveled 10,000 miles in a converted double-decker bus, the Free Photographic Omnibus, setting up impromptu portrait sessions in towns and cities across the country's heartland. 25 years later, he decided to reunite with some of the people he met during the 1970s.
The title Now and Then is a perfect reflection of Meadows' work which involved him photographing his subjects across long intervals in their lives. These photographs — children, adults, couples captured in the 1970s and again in the 1990s have made a very important contribution to documentary journalism as a whole.
May (1919-1995) And Melody "Molly" Gower, 1974 And 1997
An exhibition of his still photographs and moving images will be on display at the Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, from 4 October to 24 November. The exhibition, providing a retrospect of Daniel Meadows’ work, is taking place to celebrate Meadows’ complete archives coming to the Bodleian Libraries and is supported by the Bern Schwartz Family Foundation.
The exhibition will feature a set of 34 portrait photographs, arranged in pairs, each depicting the same people separated by an interval of 25 years between the 1970s and the 1990s. It will also include 16 short digital stories made using material from across Meadows' archive — letters, newspaper cuttings, journals, diaries, negatives, contact sheets, and audio recordings — shown on touch screens in a custom-built video-booth.
Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s librarian said, "Daniel Meadows is one of Britain’s national treasures. He is one of our great documentary photographers. His work is both concerned and humane, and engages individuals and communities thoughtfully and sympathetically. His body of work, stretching for almost fifty years, charts major social changes in Britain, but always has the lives and lived experiences of people at its heart. Daniel Meadows: Now and Then through his photographs, videos and other material from his archive, provides Daniel’s unique perspective on British society in recent decades. We are truly honored to have been gifted his archive which will be a major resource for scholars and an inspiration for photographers."