LIFE: A Retrospective by Ian Beesley, with poems by Ian McMillan. Softback signed by Ian Beesley.


Author: Ian Beesley

It's here! Following the huge success of Ian Beesley’s career retrospective  book LIFE, the prestigious Bluecoat Press have produced a beautiful large-format softback version. These copies were signed by Ian Beesley here at Salts on 26th April 2024.

LIFE is, in Beesley’s words, “48 years in the making, 200 pages, 300 photos.” It also includes many working notes by Beesley and several poems by his long-time collaborator, Ian McMillan.

Beesley (born Bradford, 1954) first found work in his local sewage works, where colleagues urged him to find a passion and engage in education. With their help, he found photography and headed first for Bradford Art College, then Bournemouth & Poole College of Art. On graduation he was awarded the Kodak scholarship for social documentation. Thus began a lifelong study of the North’s cultural and industrial heritage.

Beesley’s early output was created walking the streets, capturing an industrial society that’s now extinct: kids larking about outside, ladies talking between tightly terraced streets, grafters going full pelt within vast Victorian factories. Beesley soon found himself documenting the brutal closure of core heavy industries such as mining, iron and steel production. The nobility of labour and the horror of one’s skills being being forcibly rendered obsolete figure largely in these works. 

Ian Beesley has exhibited internationally and his work has been published in over 50 books. In 2012 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society and in 2019 an honorary doctorate from the University of Bradford for his significant contribution to the artistic, cultural and social well being of the city of Bradford.