RIP Pete James (1958-2018}, Curator of Photography Collections at the Library of Birmingham, seen here in the Library's state-of-the-art storage facility, April 2015. Pete was a very important character in my career. For a decade he nursed me through the process of getting my archive into the kind of shape that would give other people a chance to see its worth. And in the process we became very good friends. I miss him very much. A generous, thoughtful and funny man. Picture: Luke Meadows

Daniel Meadows Archive in the Bodleian, Oxford
The Daniel Meadows Archive was acquired by the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford in March 2018.

Assembled over nearly five decades the archive contains my life's work — all the negatives and contact sheets associated with my photo-documentary work also a great many contextualising documents including posters, magazines, books, receipts, newsletters, notebooks, diaries, audio tapes, digital stories, my PhD document and research material, and much correspondence besides. Housed in the Bodleian's Weston Library on the corner of Broad Street and Parks Road, accessioning is currently underway with its catalogue being mapped onto the Bodleian's own so that, from 2019, it can be made available online.

Prior to its acquisition, my archive was subjected to a process of scrutiny led by Pete James, the Library of Birmingham's curator of photography, and Prof. Val Williams of the University of the Arts, London.

With Kelly Bishop (University of South Wales intern), Pete James and Prof. Val Williams studying archive material in my darkroom, 2009. Picture: Paul Reas.

My archive also became a case study for the University of Plymouth's Photographers' Archives Research Project. Led by Prof. Jem Southam and Val Millington, the project has the objective of 'preserving and making accessible the work and archives of an important generation of independent UK photographers of the post-war era who worked with analogue processes (many still alive), and to enable both photographers and the wider public to learn about and engage with this important aspect of our artistic, cultural and social heritage.'

Read Another One Bites The Dust, Financial Times writer Francis Hodgon's blog piece about cut-backs at the Library of Birmingham.

June Street
r/t: 5 min, 13 sec.

In 1973, when studying at Manchester Poly, I teamed up with Martin Parr to photograph the residents of a Salford street. In making this movie (2012) I drew heavily on material in my archive, now in the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford.

<< Agee and Evans >>
Inspirations: 1 of 10

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..."