Album artwork for Free Photographic Omnibus, Reportage 1973–1974 by Daniel Meadows

In 1972, as a student at Manchester Polytechnic, I began experimenting with ways of doing documentary work with people, not to them. That spring, in the city's Moss Side district, I opened a free photographic shop where I ran weekly portrait sessions for passers-by. I found this way of working as agreeable as the pictures it produced and made up my mind to extend the project by putting it on wheels. First, though, I needed money.

Much of the next year I spent crowdfunding, securing sponsors and applying for grants but, by September 1973, my Free Photographic Omnibus was ready. At its heart was a 1948 Leyland Titan PD1 double-decker bus which I had bought for £360 and repurposed — somewhat crudely for there was never enough money — as my home, gallery and darkroom. Over the next fourteen months I covered 10,000 miles and visited twenty-two towns and cities. Parked up in shopping centres and on high streets I ran free portrait sessions for all-comers, developing their pictures overnight and giving them prints the next day. I photographed 958 people.

The decades passed. Then, in 1997, my bus pictures were 'rediscovered' by the curator Val Williams who created National Portraits, Photographs from the 1970s by Daniel Meadows, a travelling exhibition which opened at Viewpoint, Salford, and it is from Williams's edit of 110 pictures that I have made the selection published here.

Daniel Meadows

Free Photographic Omnibus, Reportage 1973–1974

Cafe Royal Books
Album artwork for Free Photographic Omnibus, Reportage 1973–1974 by Daniel Meadows
Pamphlet

£6.70

Released 27/09/2023Catalogue Number

CF 910

Usually dispatched in 5-10 days

Daniel Meadows

Free Photographic Omnibus, Reportage 1973–1974

Cafe Royal Books
Album artwork for Free Photographic Omnibus, Reportage 1973–1974 by Daniel Meadows
Pamphlet

£6.70

Released 27/09/2023Catalogue Number

CF 910

Usually dispatched in 5-10 days

In 1972, as a student at Manchester Polytechnic, I began experimenting with ways of doing documentary work with people, not to them. That spring, in the city's Moss Side district, I opened a free photographic shop where I ran weekly portrait sessions for passers-by. I found this way of working as agreeable as the pictures it produced and made up my mind to extend the project by putting it on wheels. First, though, I needed money.

Much of the next year I spent crowdfunding, securing sponsors and applying for grants but, by September 1973, my Free Photographic Omnibus was ready. At its heart was a 1948 Leyland Titan PD1 double-decker bus which I had bought for £360 and repurposed — somewhat crudely for there was never enough money — as my home, gallery and darkroom. Over the next fourteen months I covered 10,000 miles and visited twenty-two towns and cities. Parked up in shopping centres and on high streets I ran free portrait sessions for all-comers, developing their pictures overnight and giving them prints the next day. I photographed 958 people.

The decades passed. Then, in 1997, my bus pictures were 'rediscovered' by the curator Val Williams who created National Portraits, Photographs from the 1970s by Daniel Meadows, a travelling exhibition which opened at Viewpoint, Salford, and it is from Williams's edit of 110 pictures that I have made the selection published here.