Bradford’s very own award-winning and internationally acclaimed artist and photographer, Ian Beesley, is bringing his life’s work back to his hometown. This week, he is officially donating his vast collection to PHOTOS BRADFORD, the prestigious Photo Archive of Bradford District Museums and Galleries located at Bradford Industrial Museum.
The generous donation includes approximately 200,000 invaluable items from Ian’s illustrious 50-year career. Within this extensive archive, one can find negatives, notebooks, and press cuttings that have captured significant moments and stories over the decades. By entrusting this collection to Bradford District Museums and Galleries, which operates under the supervision of Bradford Council, Ian aims to ensure that his work remains easily accessible to all, especially the generations to come.
For the past five decades, Ian Beesley has been a prominent social documentary photographer, dedicated to capturing the evolving social landscape of northern England. His lens has focused keenly on his beloved Bradford district, exploring its mills, industries, hardworking people, iconic pubs, and the sports scene, including the legendary Bradford Bulls and Bradford City AFC. Now, his legacy will be preserved and shared with the local community and the world, thanks to this heartfelt donation.
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.