Format Photographers Agency

Scope and Content

Papers of Format Photographers Agency (1983-2003), including: papers and correspondence regarding the administration of Format Photographers Agency, 1983-2009; minutes from Format Photographers Agency meetings and other general administrative papers, 1983-1998; photographs, slides and negatives taken by Format Photographers Agency, including photographs of: peace demonstrations and anti-nuclear movements, anti-racism protests and demonstrations, LGBT marches and demonstrations regarding Clause 28, equality and gay law reform, miners' strikes and pickets, demonstrations and movements in support of the miners' strike, various other protests and demonstrations, women, women's centres and demonstrations in support of women's rights, various societies and communities, prominent women and men, individuals in employment positions and undergoing work-place training, hospitals and shelters and various miscellaneous photographs; c1960-2003; publications, press cuttings, articles, and exhibitions featuring photographs by Format Photographers Agency, articles and publications regarding the work and history of Format Photographers Agency, c1980-2017; newsletters, press releases and publicity material produced by or featuring Format Photographers Agency, 1989-c1995; photographs by photographers associated with Format Photographers Agency, 1980-1994; papers regarding the history of Format Photographers Agency, c1983-2010; posters featuring photographs by Brenda Prince and ephemera from protests at Greenham Common Air Base, n.d.; audio recordings of Maggie Murray appearing on episodes of Women's Hour, Nightwaves and Kaleidoscope, 1993-2003; clothing and objects, including a Format Photographers Agency t-shirt, and Format Photographers Agency pens, n.d. (c1960-2017)

Administrative / Biographical History

Established in 1983, Format Photographers Agency was a women's only photographic agency. Founded by Maggie Murray, Sheila Gray, Pam Isherwood ,Anita Corbin, Jenny Matthews, Joanne O'Brien, Raissa Page and Val Wilmer, it offered a platform for female photographers to develop their creativity and enhance their careers.

The agency's work documented the world from a different angle, and represented issues, events and individuals who got very little coverage in the mainstream media. Their photographs captured a range of important political events and momentous social movements, including the women's peace camp at Greenham Common, LGBT marches and demonstrations, soup kitchens during the Miners' Strike, and various women's rights movements and demonstrations. Their photography also included portraits of men and women who were prominent at the time, women working in new areas of employment, and the lives and experiences of the everyday person.

The agency closed down in 2003, and their work has been celebrated in several exhibitions, including an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London during 2010.


The Format Photographers Agency Archive is divided into the following ten sections:

FORMAT/1: Administration FORMAT/2: Minutes FORMAT/3: Photographs FORMAT/4: Press Cuttings, Exhibitions and Publications FORMAT/5: Newsletters and Publicity FORMAT/6: Individual Photographers FORMAT/7: History of Format Photographers Agency FORMAT/8: Posters and Ephemera FORMAT/9: Audio FORMAT/10: Clothing and Objects

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposited with Bishopsgate Institute by Maggie Murray, 16 August 2017.

Other Finding Aids

Adlib catalogue and copy of handlist available in researcher's area.

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled by Grace Biggins

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying, scanning and digital photography (without flash) is permitted for research purposes on completion of the Library's Copyright Declaration form and with respect to current UK copyright law.