Daniel Meadows and his photobus

BOOK OF THE ROAD is a
'Book of the Year 2023'

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Free Photographic Omnibus

The Daniel Meadows Archive is housed in the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford. This website, with its 500 photographs and 40 videos, gives a window onto that archive.

I began doing documentary work in Manchester back in the early 'seventies.

Inspired by the writings of George Orwell and the photographs of Bill Brandt, I went to live in Moss Side, an inner city area that was undergoing regeneration, its residents moving away.

To get close to people, I rented a disused barber's, my Shop on Greame Street, and opened it at weekends as a free photography studio.

examples of daniel meadows documentary photography

“Meadows was making a different kind of portrait, one more susceptible to the changing cultural climate of the decade, with a greater feeling of collaboration, or at least a sense of the subject controlling the photographer rather than the other way around... Pop-up studios are popular today, but in the 1970s this was a unique initiative.”

Gerry Badger: Another Country, British Documentary Photography Since 1945, pp. 115 & 156 (Thames & Hudson, 2022)

example of daniel meadows moss side photographic work

It was in my Moss Side studio that I developed the template for my subsequent practice, recording and communicating people's stories, their motivations and triumphs, the ups and downs of changing circumstances.

The years passed and I made increasing use of the tape recorder. In this way many of my pictures discovered the talkies. Some recordings I made at the same time as I took the photographs. For others I waited years. This site is where everything comes together.

The Daniel Meadows Archive

For the benefit of researchers who intend visiting the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford to access the archive...

I have included, at the foot of relevant pages in the Photographs gallery, links connecting pictures here with their source material in the Bodleian.
To access the Daniel Meadows Archive in person you will need a Bodleian Reader Card.

Apply for a Bodleian Reader Card

Familiarise yourself with the work by sampling my annotated catalogue of the negative files (881 KB .pdf download).

When you have chosen the items you want to view, you should make your request and also schedule a time and date for your visit by emailing: specialcollections.enquiries
@bodleian.ox.ac.uk