This work was first published as The Daniel Meadows Archive, The Shop on Greame Street, 1972, in the academic journal Photography & Culture, vol.3, issue 1, pp.81-90, March 2010.
The Shop on Greame Street
In the spring of 1972 I rented a disused barber's shop on Greame Street, Moss Side, in Manchester's inner city, and opened a free photographic studio. I was inspired after seeing the documentary Beautiful, Beautiful (BBC, Omnibus, 1969) about New York photographer Bruce Davidson working in Harlem. Davidson was making his famous book East 100th Street and I loved his portraits for their engagement, their intimacy and for the generosity he drew out of the people he photographed.
It's the nature of documentary photography that it can take a very long time to reach an audience outside of its original context. So, even though it's more than forty years since I made these pictures, it doesn't surprise me that they're only now beginning to be noticed. But it's great when people spot themselves in the pictures and contact me. I get particularly excited about this series because, although the archive contains fascinating fragments of typescript and also some audio recordings, no proper list of the names of those photographed has survived. For my research to progress, I do rely on those depicted — many of whom are now in their fifties — to make themselves known.
One such is Neville Davis, formerly of Richmond Street in Moss Side. In 2105 we met up. Here's a little film about that event, made by the Midlands based community arts organisation Multistory.
The Shop on Greame St
r/t: 4 min, 46 sec.
In 1972, when I was a student at Manchester Poly, I ran a free portrait studio in a disused barber's shop in the city's Moss Side district.
James Agee and Walker Evans. Book. 1941. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Sent in 1936 to produce a magazine article on the poverty of white sharecroppers in Alabama, Agee and photographer Evans stretched out the assignment and made a book instead. Agee didn't have a rule book to tell him what precisely to document. So he precisely documented everything: from the depth of dust in a drawer to his passionate feelings for one of his subjects. Here he observes a family preparing to be photographed by Evans: "...looking into your eyes and seeing thus, how each of you is a creature which has never in all time existed before and which shall never in all time exist again and which is not like any other and which has the grand stature and natural warmth of every other..."