Fran MAY


Fran May was born one of eight children in Vancouver. In 1962, the family moved to

the UK. Starting as a Fine Art Painting student, she completed her education at the

Royal College of Art in 1978 with a Masters Degree in Photography. In the last two

years while at the Royal College of Art, she was under the tuition of the famous

documentarian Bill Brandt.

Her first appointment in 1979 came from The Brooklyn Museum as The Theban Royal

Tomb Project Photographer, in Egypt. She spent six months documenting the Valley of

the Kings. Working alone with the project Director, she found statues of King Rameses XI

and the goddess Ma’at, together with the foundation deposit contents, all of which were

3,000 years old. On her return, she took studio space in Hoxton Square to build a

freelance photography business, working for the British Museum, The Sunday Times

Magazine and on documentary projects in Africa.

Later work included creating images for large corporate companies, investment banks and

law firms. After creating a visual project on the history of science of Cambridge University,

and the subsequent collaboration with Trinity College, Fran was employed by a large

number of scientific research companies to visually express their business models. She

continued creating portraits of those at the forefront of science and technology for

Cambridge University College alumni publications until the age of sixty-three, when she

moved to Bath to work on ideas for books.

In 2019 Fran published a book of the documentary work she made while a student

between 1974-1978. During this time, Fran travelled to over twenty destinations in the

UK to photograph Northern towns, followed by an extensive document of Brick Lane in

East London.

Current projects include a book on the architecture of Bath and one on the coastline of

the British Isles. Fran also continues to criss-cross the UK on her perpetual quest to

re-discover the British life with her distinctive poetic documentary vision.