Picturing Bradford: Major New Outdoor Photographic Exhibition Opens
A new outdoor photographic exhibition in Bradford captures life on high streets from across the district.
Opening on 28 July, Picturing Bradford tells the stories behind the district’s shopfronts. It celebrates high street heroes, brings new meaning to familiar scenes, and invites audiences to consider the value and role of the local high street.
Part of the BD: Festival, the outdoor exhibition features more than 60 photographs exhibited across Bradford city centre. They have been chosen from hundreds of public submissions following an open call out by Impressions Gallery.
The photographs were selected by a panel of judges, including social documentary photographer Ian Beesley; Shanaz Gulzar, Creative Director, Bradford 2025; Anne McNeill, Director, Impressions Gallery; Tamsin Silvey, Cultural Programme Curator, Historic England, and Phill Hargreaves, Head of Creative Programmes, Bradford Council.
Ten images have been selected to be added to the Picturing High Streets national collection in the Historic England Archive, the nation’s archive for England’s historic buildings, archaeology, and social history.
"I have chosen this photograph taken by Rais Hasan of Sollys greengrocer stall, which is something of a Bradford institution. Sollys sells a vast array of amazing fresh food, fruit and vegetables from all over the world, and you can buy just about everything for a recipe. It sits within the hustle and bustle of Oastler Market, alongside butchers, fishmongers, spice stalls, an Italian deli and a Caribbean grocer. Both the market and Sollys are a real gem for foodies in the city centre and reflects the many cultures of Bradford."
Anne McNeill, Director, Impressions Gallery
“I love this photograph for capturing how inviting the shop owner, Hannah, and her vintage goods are. Even from the corner of Mean Old Scene captured by photographer Elaine Taylor, I know that a happy time could be spent browsing through the rails and shelves of this independent high street gem.”
Tamsin Silvey, Cultural Programme Curator, Historic England
“I like the atmosphere evoked by this image, the wistfulness of a damp winter’s evening is countered by the warm, bright inviting interior of the shop. The epitome of the corner shop so important to the local community.
“The shop shining like a beacon through the dark night with the poster of Muhammad Ali in its window is a great metaphor for the resilience and fortitude of many small shop keepers who fight against the demise of the local high street, competing against online shopping, out-of-town retail parks and, of course, the weather.”
Ian Beesley, Social Documentary Photographer
“The ice rink played such an important part in my childhood and many people’s lives in Bradford. It’s been a cultural hub for many people and this image just brings back so many happy memories.”
Phill Hargreaves, Head of Creative Programmes, Bradford Council
From well-known stall holders in Oastler Market to ice cream parlours in Bingley, and from betting shops in Keighley to bus stops on Cheapside, Picturing Bradford presents an authentic and poetic portrait of the city, evoking a warm sense of civic pride.
We are so pleased Picturing Bradford has been made possible with thanks to the support of Historic England and Bradford Council. Picturing Bradford is bringing photography onto the streets of Bradford city centre with a selection of larger than life photos. It’s great that Impressions can animate the city high streets as part of BD: Festival and the month of August.
We’re delighted that the Bradford district has been chosen for this national project to capture daily life from high streets across the UK. And working in partnership with Impressions Gallery we’re privileged to be able to display these wonderful photos in the city centre as part of our BD:Festival coming up this weekend. The photos really tell the story of the Bradford district and the people who live here, capturing the warmth of the Bradford people, the enthusiasm of traders and the sense of community felt on high streets both big and small.
Picturing Bradford runs from Friday 28 July to Sunday 3 September. For more details, visit www.impressions-gallery.com/
'Picturing Bradford' is funded by Historic England and Bradford Metropolitan District Council. It will be complemented by Historic England’s national touring exhibition 'Picturing High Streets', which features 65 photographs of life in towns and cities across the country.
'Picturing High Streets' is part of a three-year project by Historic England and Photoworks, in partnership with national and regional photography organisations, to create a contemporary portrait of England’s high streets.
This exhibition is part of Historic England’s £95 million government-funded High Streets Heritage Action Zones scheme, breathing new life into high streets across England.