Frances Lumber: fine art photographer

Languishing in a file among hundreds of other negatives for the last 22 years have been a series of still life photographs taken by a Lancaster University graduate.

Just three of the 12 images formed part of Frances Lumber’s degree exhibition back in the 90s but the others were never printed and simply gathered dust as life took over and the photographer embarked on a career as a primary school teacher.

Having given up full time teaching and moved to a new home in Tideswell where she has room for a darkroom Frances, pictured,  has finally found time to resume her photography and illustration work.

At the top of her agenda was finishing the project she began all those years ago.

Each one of the dozen pictures is a still life representing a calendar month and has been created using found objects including flora and fauna which she then photographs on black and white film, prints and later hand-works with watercolour paints, pencils and pastels.

“I had the original idea while I was at university studying graphic design and illustration and created three of the months for my degree show,” explained Frances.

“I enjoyed it so much I went on to photograph nine more over the course of the following year but I didn’t have the opportunity to print and hand-work them – the negatives were put away and forgotten about.

“Working on them now has brought back some fond memories,” she said reflectively, as she showed me each of the finished images stacked ready for an exhibition entitled A Natural Order at the Green Man Gallery in Buxton.

“I love the tones of the black and white images but I also enjoy colour. It is a slow process building up layers of washes and dry colour but hand-working in this way means each image is unique and it gives me my colour fix.

“After all this time I am really excited about seeing them hung together at Buxton.”

The full series will form just part of the exhibition – the rest will be from the 47-year-old’s collection of hand printed, black and white, landscape photographs.

“My landscapes are rarely the broad view I like the little quiet corners; the light and shade; shadows on the rocks or buildings.

“My favourite images are when something new from the landscape has been created because the sense of perspective has disappeared and it is hard to get an idea of scale and distance. Nature is a constant inspiration to me. There is always something new to see.  I don’t think I will ever tire of capturing it on film.”

For more details about her work go to