I was born one of eight children in Vancouver and in 1962 the family moved to the UK. Starting as a Fine Art Painting student at Sheffield, I completed my education at the Royal College of Art with a master’s degree in photography in 1978.
While in Sheffield I started to use a camera and documented about twenty different destinations, Manchester, Sunderland, Leeds, Scarborough, Blackpool, many small towns and Sheffield of course, which was on my doorstep. Once in London, I was encouraged by Bill Brandt, who became my personal tutor when I was a student at the Royal College of Art. I continued my documentary work of Brick Lane and a series of hostels for the homeless.
My first commissioned appointment came from The Brooklyn Museum, documenting the Valley of the Kings in Egypt as the museum’s Royal Theban Tomb Photographer.
On my return, I took a studio space in Hoxton Square to build a freelance photography business and worked for the British Museum and The Sunday Times Magazine as well as on documentary projects in Africa.
Later work included the creation of corporate images for investment banks, law firms, publishers and scientific research companies. For over thirty years I worked freelance for the Development Offices of the University of Cambridge providing images of the people working in scientific and technological innovation for alumni publications.
I currently live in Bath and I am creating a project about the origin of Architecture, the Cosmos and Photography.
My early documentary photography is represented by Augusta Edwards Fine Art, London. The gallery is part of Cromwell Place Galleries in South Kensington.
Founded in 2016, Augusta Edwards Fine Art specialises in classical 20th century and contemporary photography with a specific emphasis on British documentary photography from the 1970s-1980s, pre and post war European photography and Latin American photography from the 1940s-1950s, including:
My Current exhibition is 'FACING BRITAIN' British Documentary Photography since the 1960s, curated by Ralph Goertz, in Germany .
September 3, 2021 - January 9, 2022 Darmstadt Art Gallery
02/20 - 1.05.2022 - Mönchehaus Museum Goslar
Forty-eight documentary photographers represent Britain before and after the Thatcher era. I am honoured to be part of it.
In November I will be exhibiting at Paris Photo on the Augusta Edwards stand.
A book of my early documentary photography titled simply 'Fran May Photography 1974-1978' is available to purchase though all major bookshops and on Amazon.