A Place of Work
How traditional, how conservative even, these black-and–white pictures of a vanishing world, filled with the cast iron that inner city rejuvenators and estate agents think of as ‘period detail’ and taking their subject whole industries that historians have barely had time to categorise, in countries that seem to have missed the new European bus, stuck in distant corners of the offshore islands.
Beesley’s pictures certainly lend themselves to this kind of thinking, and part of his motivation is certainly conservative. It is his own life that is changing, his own life that is in uproar: the vast majority of these scenes are places he knows well, that he knew before and will continue to know later. He may want to preserve them and the lives that went on within them, or he may not. But he certainly wants – and wants us to have through him- a chance to slow the process of change sufficiently for us to be bale to think stradily about them. Photography can do that.
The intention is that we should be completely engaged in these photographs: Ian Beesley has used his skill to put before us not facts, but ideas.
The last phase of the decline of manufacturing industry in this country has found itself a worth chronicler. Francis Hodgson: