Former Birmingham Post and Mail photographer Angela Hill, has died, aged 66.

Born in Wednesfield, Staffordshire, to Twyford and Violet Starkey, Angela was a talented horserider and won showjumping trophies before her equestrian ambitions were cut short at the age of 16 when she broke her leg.

She took up photography and, after studying at Wednesbury Technical College, went on to forge a career at the Birmingham Post and Mail Studios and then the Express & Star newspaper in Wolverhampton.

In Birmingham, she took the early portraits of the rising stars of the regionally-based Associated Television, such as Noel Gordon, later to star in Crossroads, and her portfolio also included many of the emerging pop stars of the 60s including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Cilla Black and Gene Pitney, as well as social images of the day.

She and her husband Paul, a showbiz reporter who she met in Wolverhampton, went on to establish the highly-influential photography workshop and study centre, The Photographers' Place, in Derbyshire's Peak District.

The country's first residential workshop and study centre of its type, it was regarded as an important part of the movement to establish photography as an independent art form and Angela played a pivotal role in the venture for two decades.

Her husband, who is now professor of photography at De Montfort University, said his wife was in many ways a pioneer in her field.

"Among her work was a feature on women prisoners and that was very unusual at the time," he said.

"She also was awarded a Shell Travel Scholarship, but she was unable to take it up because she was female. In those days, they thought there were more risks involved for a woman so she didn't get it. It was very unusual in those days, in the 1950s, not only for a woman to study photography but do the sort of work she did, journalistic and portrait. She tended to be put in the role of darkroom printer and retoucher of photos which she fought against."

The couple married in 1964 and had two children, Samantha, now a mother-of-two, and Dominic, a 38-year-old who has has established himself as one of the best stunt riders and performers in the film and television industry.

They were taught to ride by their mother, whose love of horses was revived when the family moved to Derbyshire in the 1970s. She started breeding, schooling and selling horses, and was a member of the Derbyshire committee of the British Horse Society until she was struck down by cancer in 2004.

"She was a risk-taker, she supported me in taking risks and to have a wife who does that is a great asset," said Mr Hill.

"It was a great partnership. We pioneered the Photographers' Place together and she was a very important part of that."

Angela Hill died on August 15. The funeral is due to take place at All Saints Church in Bradbourne, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, this Friday.