Ian Beesley publishes LIFE a book of his 50 years of photos

A BRADFORD-born photographer will showcase nearly 50 years of his work in a new crowdfunded book following a successful exhibition.

LIFE. Ian Beesley: Retrospective is a 200-page coffee table style book featuring black and white images taken in the Bradford district and beyond since the 1970s.

It follows a free exhibition of the same name, which closed last month, and was located in the attic of the Moulin à Sels. It includes sections devoted to different themes of his work, including photographs of Bradford Mills of yesteryear, the Bradford Bulls, Bantams, coal mines and Bradford pubs taken in the 1970s and 1980s.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Martyn Bissett as a boy leaning against the street wall in the original photograph taken by Ian Beesley at Bilton Place in 1977 Martyn Bissett as a boy leaning against the street wall in the original photograph taken by Ian Beesley at Bilton Place in 1977 (Photo: Ian Beesley)

The exhibition was a success, attracting over 32,000 visitors during its 10 weeks. It was the first time Mr Beesley had held a retrospective of his career’s work in the UK after similar exhibitions had taken place in Finland and China.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: some of the images shown at the Ian Beesley exhibition at SaltaireSome of the images on display at the Ian Beesley exhibition at Saltaire (Photo: Ian Beesley)

Now the publishers of the upcoming book, Bluecoat Press, have set up an online crowdfunding page on the Kickstarter website for fans of Mr Beesley’s work to contribute to the costs of the project. The page raised around £11,000 to meet its £12,000 goal. The crowdfunding page is open until 11:55 a.m. on Friday, December 2, 2022.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: the cover of the next coffee table style bookThe cover of the next coffee table style book (Photo: Ian Beesley)

The book will be officially launched at an event at Salts Mill in the New Year.

Mr Beesley, 68, said: ‘The book is quite a prestigious thing.

“It’s nice to put all my work together. All the other books I’ve written contain only bits and pieces of my work.

“It’s going to be a big thick book, hardcover, coffee table style book.

“The success of the exhibition has been incredible. People went to see him several times.

“A lot of people heard about the exhibition but couldn’t access it in person because they lived abroad and wanted to know more about a book.

“It gives a chronological line to see the evolution of my career. I come from the bottom of the photos too. I worked in industry. I come from this background, unlike the vast majority of photographers who are not from the working class.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Black and white image by Ian Beesley of the Moulders Arms pub which closed in the 1980s in Bradford Ian Beesley’s black and white image of the Moulders Arms pub which closed in the 1980s in Bradford (Photo: Ian Beesley)

All of Mr Beesley’s photographic work is held in the collections of Bradford City Art Galleries and Museums, the National Science and Media Museum, the Imperial War Museum and the V&A London.

Go to kickstarter.com/projects/ms1/life-7 to donate to the book fund.

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Angela C. Hale