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Ian Beesley - 'Street Corners'
Smith Art Gallery, Brighouse

Finding myself with a couple of spare hours on a cold January morning, I headed for the unfamiliar venue of the Smith Art Gallery in Brighouse to see Beesley's latest exhibition. The setting is certainly impressive; a former Edwardian pile also housing Brighouse library, set amid ample grounds and with a smashing view over the town.

As a Bradford City fan, I was already familiar with Beesley's gritty and brooding style; his work has found its way into the club's annual calendars, while prints can also be seen adorning the wall of Valley Parade's white elephant banqueting suite.

The black and white photographs displayed in Brighouse are inspired by the photographer's childhood. He grew up in a terraced house in Bradford and spent many of his early days playing in the street.

Beesley says whenever he is working in urban areas, he gravitates towards street corners and gable ends. This collection is a mixture of work taken from his archives and more recent photographs captured on his travels.

I found something to enjoy in many of the photographs on display but I got most pleasure from those showing happiness against a jagged inner city backdrop.

One memorable photograph charts Asian children enjoying a vibrant game of street cricket in the 1970s. Another shows cheeky young faces milling around a gable end, flanked by a Nora Batty lookalike with curlers in her hair. (next page)


Ian Beesley's 'Street Corners' runs at the Smith Art Gallery, Brighouse, West Yorkshire until 19th March 2005. Admission is free.

Ian Beesley's web site can be found at http://www.ianbeesley.co.uk

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