British photographic history

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Home sought for Industrial Photography Collection

I wonder whether any members can offer advice on finding a home for an archive of industrial photography? This collection relates to one major assignment undertaken in 1993/4 by noted industrial photographer, the late Donald D. Fraser FBIPP FRPS and myself Clive Friend FBIPP. We worked as two teams across the UK, Europe and North America illustrating the substantial range of industrial premises owned by the Caradon Group. The purpose was to produce a corporate book for the Caradon Group of all their possessions. The range of industrial processes illustrated was very wide. This assignment was significant for various reasons. It was probably one of the largest single industrial photography commissions undertaken and given the time, probably one of the last to use film  We investigated digital possibilities but concluded that digital had not yet reached the standard we would require for this project.  Consequently, all images were produced on colour negative and positive materials. Don used Hasselblad 6x6 and I used Mamiya RZ 6x7. I have a complete set of all images produced in both negative and positive forms plus a quantity of the books we produced. We used electronic flash to light some very large areas. This collection is also a record of a world of industry as it was nearly 30 years ago.

Don was a flamboyant personality who undertook his assignments with great style. The collection includes many striking images mostly unseen outside this project. The Caradon Group no longer exists and Don Fraser died in an accident in Australia in 2001.

I would like to find a worthwhile repository for these images where they will be conserved and accessible to future generations.

Please get in touch if you are able to help or advise.

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Comment by Clive Friend on October 18, 2021 at 11:43

Thanks all for your contributions. I will be in touch shortly.

As far as the history is concerned, you're quite right Joe that the origin was in Metal Box. Caradon subsequently acquired a chunk of RTZ which is how a building products group came to own some odd bedfellows like aircraft servicing. We were never sure of their real intent in commissioning this project, I thought that it was  rather extravagant to be just a vanity exercise, it felt as if we were producing a sales catalogue which might be closer to the truth. They were great to work for but once it was done and dusted there was no further contact, Don went to Australia where he died in a bizarre motor accident on his own property. The CEO died quite suddenly too. I have no idea what ultimately happened to them.

As far as copyright is concerned, I don't think Don would ever have done a deal which did not retain the copyright. I would not expect there to be any problem with regard to archival use. There were no releases sought from any of the people featured but I don't foresee any commercial use for the images. I worked with Don as a freelance partner so I am all that is left of Don Fraser Associates! Others may have informed opinion on this aspect.

Michael, I think Don would have approved of the collection going to the RPS although I have never been involved with them myself. I'll call you when I have time.

Comment by Dr. Joe Rock on October 18, 2021 at 11:10

I notice online that the Caradon Group looked back to the Metal Box Company for its origins (I'm not sure exactly how they came to that conclusion!) so it might be useful to talk to the Berkshire Record Office who hold photographic records for  Metal Box plc.

Comment by Wilson Laidlaw on October 18, 2021 at 9:40


I would have thought an organisation such as the Science Museum or maybe better one of the smaller industrial museums such as The Black Country Museum or The Beamish Collection, would be delighted to be offered and provide a home for such a collection/archive. 


Comment by Will Carleton on October 18, 2021 at 8:30

Morning Clive - happy to talk through options - will direct message you. - or call me.


Comment by Liz Moore on October 18, 2021 at 8:10

Dear Clive

I am a picture researcher of many years standing and used to run Popperfoto in the old days when it was still in Fleet Street - we syndicated for Reuters, EPA and AFT. I was interested to hear about your collection. I'd be very happy to talk this through with you. Please feel free to call me on 01580 830642. I am guessing that Caradon or its new owners have granted you the rights to the photos, and ownership of the photos and negatives.

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