Frank Sutcliffe took up photography around 1871, then established a studio in Whitby, a coastal town in Yorkshire, after having worked, briefly, for the large photographic firm of Francis Frith. He wrote a column that was originated by Horsely Hinton, "Photography Notes," for the Yorkshire Weekly Post from 1908 to about 1930. He also contributed articles to many newspapers and magazines, Amateur Photography among them. Sutcliffe was the curator of Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society from 1923 to 1940. 1941. Sutcliffe was widely exhibited; his was the first one-man show to be held by the Camera Club in 1888. He was the recipient of some sixty- two gold, silver and bronze medals from interna¬tional exhibitions.
Although he worked commercially as a portrait and carte de visite photographer, Sutcliffe is best known for his personal work, in which he photographed small sea-town fishermen and farmers and their families at work and at play. He was noted especially for his naturalistic and spontaneous style, despite the fact that his early work was with unwieldy collodion wet plates. He produced many varieties of prints - albumen, silver, carbon and platinum and in his later years was absorbed with the new Kodak hand-held cameras.
A founding-member of The Linked Ring in 1892, he was made an Honorary Fellow of RPS in 1941.
He married Eliza Weatherill Duck, the daughter of a local bootmaker, on 1 January 1875 and had a son and three daughters at his home in Sleights.