THE work of a photographer who has snapped some of rock music’s biggest names helped open a new gallery in Bradford city centre.

BD1 Gallery has opened in a former furniture shop on Godwin Street which has been empty for over 12 years.

The new venue opened its doors this weekend, with an exhibition by Lawrence Watson, who has photographed artists from The Smiths to Snoop Dogg over his 30-plus year career.

The gallery has been opened by Sam Brown, a cinematographer and producer who recently moved back to Bradford from London to study an art degree at Bradford College. His studies inspired him to set up his own arts business, and he hoped to open a small studio, but was soon won over by the large Godwin Street unit.

BD1 will start out as a gallery, and in the near future he hopes to also run a photographic studio from the building. Eventually it could expand to include space for other artists on upper floors.

Mr Brown said: “When I took it on there were yellowing walls and rusting lights inside. I did most of the work myself over the last few months.

“It is a good location - you have the Media Museum, Impressions Gallery and then North Parade. I hope people who are out to Sunbridgewells or North Parade can pop in here for a look round first.”

Mr Watson worked for music magazine NME before becoming a freelance photographer whose work has graced album covers such as Paul Weller’s Wild Wood and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. He was also one of the first UK photographers to recognise the importance of the hip hop scene.

Among the images in the three-month-long exhibition are a photograph of Snoop Dogg taken in an LA prison during a video shoot and another capturing George Clinton mid- performance.

He photographed Bradford band Southern Death Cult early in his career and said: “I have fond memories coming up here. I feel lucky to have worked with these artists.

“I used to have a studio in London with Sam. I think he wants to open this place up to other artists, get a Warhol factory vibe going on. When Shoreditch was a bit like Bradford is now, with empty shops, it was artists who brought it back to life. Art always helps regeneration.”

BD1 Gallery opens from on Friday from 11.30am to 2.30pm, on Saturday from 11am to 6pm and on Sunday from 11am to 5pm.