About Fran May
Fran May was born in 1954 in Vancouver, Canada, and moved to the UK in 1962.
Fran began her photography following a subsidiary study program while on a Fine Art Painting Degree course in Sheffield in 1973. Here Fran photographed the landscape as much as she documented life in Sheffield, Leeds, Blackpool and other smaller northern towns. She then moved to London and studied at the Royal College of Art with Bill Brandt as her personal tutor (1976-78).
While in London, she documented Brick Lane in the East End of London, followed by a substantial project, documenting the homeless hostels for men, women, children and young mothers. On completion of these projects, Fran was awarded the RCA Travel Scholarship. Lastly she documented a series of portraits of people who had marginalised them selves and were living in the hills of Wales. For these photographs, Fran was awarded the ‘Vogue Prize for Portraiture’ by Barney Wan, Art Director of Vogue Magazine, in 1978.
In 1979, Fran was commissioned to document the Tombs in The Valley of the King’s, Luxor, Egypt, as photographer on the Royal Theban Tomb Project, by the Brooklyn Museum, New York. Substantial finds were made and the BBC made a documentary film titled, ‘Romer’s Egypt’.
In 1994, Fran was commissioned to document Ghana in West Africa during the 50th Independence Day celebrations. Seated at the feet of President Jerry Rawlings, Fran photographed the entourages of dancers and theatrical performances that passed by. She also went into schools, documented fishing activity, home life, cooking, food production and travel. An exhibition of her images was seen at the opening of the Empire and Commonwealth Museum.
Throughout the whole of this time, Fran worked constantly as an editorial photographer, first for The Sunday Times Magazine and for many multinational companies, before concentrating her portraiture in the niche world of science and technological innovation with close ties to the Cambridge University Colleges.
Fran's passion for the land has continued throughout her professional career and she now has the time to devote herself entirely to her art. The web site will eventually include her paintings and works on paper as well as her photography.