Acclaimed social documentary photographer’s work comes home to Bradford

The life’s work of award winning and internationally acclaimed artist and photographer Ian Beesley is set to come home to Bradford, when it is officially donated to PHOTOS BRADFORD – The Photo Archive of Bradford District Museums and Galleries, which is based at Bradford Industrial Museum this week.

The renowned social documentary photographer is set to handover around 200,000 items to the Bradford Council-run museum in Eccleshill, which is only half a mile from where he was born.

Ian’s photographic archive which spans his 50-year career, includes negatives, notebooks and press cuttings, is being donated to Bradford District Museums and Galleries, to ensure that it can be freely available and accessible to all, especially future generations.

Since the 1970s, his work has mainly documented the changing social landscape of northern England with a particular focus on the Bradford district and its mills, industry, working people, pubs and sport including the Bradford Bulls and Bradford City AFC.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “We’re delighted that Ian has decided to make the incredibly generous donation of his entire archive to our Museums and Galleries Service. This is such an important collection, capturing the relatively recent heritage of the north and the lives of local people. We’re incredibly honoured to be able to have this collection, especially coming in the run up to our year as UK City of Culture in 2025. The collection is fantastic legacy and will be seen by generations to come.”

Ian Beesley, said: “It’s important that my entire archive stays in the region, where it was created and where it will have relevance to future generations of the local communities, rather than being split up and dispersed to other areas of the country. Bradford Museums and Galleries Service is the rightful home for my work.”

Mr Beesley’s exhibition for his latest book Life is on at Salts Mill in Saltaire for the rest of the summer.