Pete James, former curator of photography at the Library of Birmingham, in the Library's state-of-the-art storage facility, April 2015. Picture: Luke Meadows

Daniel Meadows Archive in the Library of Birmingham
Assembled over four decades the archive contains 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. The work is stored in 209 boxes, catalogue reference: MS 2765.

Download a .pdf file of the catalogue (212 Kb) here:

The Library of Birmingham
The Library's collection is of international standing. An impressive archive from the Victorian era — Francis Bedford (2,700 glass negatives, 2,049 prints), Francis Frith (316,000 negatives, 4,000 prints), Sir Benjamin Stone (22,000 mounted prints, 17,000 glass negatives, 600 stereographs) — is complemented with signature photographic contributions from Samuel Bourne, William Archer Clarke, Felice Beato, Roger Fenton, Robert Howlett, Eadweard Muybridge, John Thomson and Frank Meadow Sutcliffe. From the 20th century there are works by John Blakemore, Bill Brandt, Vanley Burke, Brian Griffin, Paul Hill, Tony Ray Jones, Angus McBean, Martin Parr, Lewis & Randal, Bishton and Reardon and a great many more.

The Library also houses the archive (inc. 5,000 hours of sound recordings) of a particular hero of mine Charles Parker, the BBC radio producer who made the Radio Ballads in the late 1950s and early '60s.

Accessing The Daniel Meadows Archive
Access is through the Library of Birmingham's Wolfson Centre for Archival Research. Find instructions detailing how to view it here. There is an appointment system so be sure to reserve your study space in advance by emailing:

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.'

Daniel Meadows Collection in the Sound & Moving Image Catalogue of the British Library
To accompany the interview Alan Dein recorded with me in October 2015 for the Oral History of British Photography project (see C459/68/1-7), this collection (shelfmark C1720) comprises:

  • 40 of my digital stories;
  • the boxed set Eight Stories (Southport: Café Royal Books, 2015, edition of 50 copies);
  • 122 BBC Capture Wales digital stories (lo-res versions).

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 telling this story I draw heavily on material from my archive in the The Library of Birmingham.

<< Dana Atchley >>
Inspirations: 2 of 10

Two astonishing Digital Stories. Late 1990s.

Home Movies (aka The Turn Film) celebrates Atchley's grandfather's annual ritual of marching his four sons out of the house, walking them up the garden path and then telling them to do a 360 degree turn for the camera. By editing several of these "turn" clips together Atchley gives us a beautiful yet funny sequence of a family growing up, something he reflects upon in voice-over. Time is telescoped.

Redheads is narrated, both to camera and in voice-over, by Atchley's mother Martha who tells of her childhood growing up on a farm in western New York State.

I paid my first visit to Atchley's Next Exit site in the spring of 2000 and we immediately began an email exchange. He invited me to attend a Centre for Digital Storytelling workshop in Berkeley, California, later that year... which I did.