Peter James was an instrumental figure in British photography, establishing an outstanding collection of photography at the Library of Birmingham over his 26-year career at the institution, and researching and curating exhibitions at the V&A, National Portrait Gallery, Somerset House, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Ikon Galley, the Library of Birmingham, and many more. He was also a modest and affable man, universally known as Pete and as at home over a curry as in a lecture hall delivering an academic paper. As Hilary Roberts, research curator at the Imperial War Museum, put it in a tribute on James’ Facebook page: “Pete has been a wonderful friend and exceptional colleague for more years than I can remember. His contribution to the world of photography cannot be overstated. It was a privilege to work with him and I will miss him more than I can say.”
The 22 year-old has shot Poundbury and Milton Keynes, among others, to pick out how we shape the environment – and how it then shapes us. “I quickly realised the importance of human presence within these urban environments; how we change them over time and how the environment changes us.”
There are more photography MAs on offer than ever. But very few give students the commercial know-how to build a career says award-winning photographer Paul Wenham Clarke, who is on a mission to change that.