A PHOTOGRAPHER has recalled how a chat with a taxi driver in China helped shape a project on air pollution in Bradford.

Ian Beesley teamed up with the Born In Bradford project on 'Bruised Air' which looked at how pollution has changed from being transmitted from the district's mills to its vehicles.

The Eccleshill-born photographer captured images of a number of the district's mills, pollution in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and some of its buildings for the project.

Bruised Air also included a short animated film, featuring reworked lyrics from poet Ian McMillan of the 1960 The Platters song, 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes' which was performed by the Bradford Cathedral boys' choir.

It shows how pollution has changed from the visible to the invisible. From smoking chimneys to the invisible particulates in car fumes.

The project was inspired by a 1947 photograph by CH Wood of the smoking chimneys from Canal Road in Bradford.

The Bradford Institute for Health Research's Born in Bradford project investigated how our total environment shapes our health and wellbeing.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: CH Wood's 1947 smoke in Bradford photograph, the inspiration for 'Bruised Air'CH Wood's 1947 smoke in Bradford photograph, the inspiration for 'Bruised Air'

It measured how air pollution, ultraviolet radiation, noise, green space and pollutants in our diet affect our early life development.

Beesley says the inspiration behind the name of the project, which he completed a couple of years ago, was a chat with a taxi driver in China.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Coal sludge Coal sludge

He said: "I had just been to China and I was in Shanghai, which was really, really polluted.

"A taxi driver I had spoke good English. He said it was alright in Shanghai apart from the bruised air. I knew exactly what he meant.

"That was such a description of environmental pollution.

"Born in Bradford has done some groundbreaking research on the effects of pollution and the importance of green space in urban cities, like we have in Bradford with Lister Park and Peel Park. It is an interesting area of research.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Dried mud Dried mud

"The animated film went from mill chimneys to car exhausts.

"Pollution is still here, but it has changed. We still have pollution left on brown earthy sites.

"The project shows how pollution changes from the visible to the invisible. Bradford is in a basin.

"The pollution really dropped during lockdown, as there were less cars on the road. It had a really big effect.

"Pollution is an ongoing thing. It's a really big problem."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Paint and oil Paint and oil

Who is Ian Beesley?

He was born in Bradford in 1954 and after leaving school in 1972 worked in a mill, a foundry before going to work at Esholt Sewage works, where he was part of the railway gang.

Encouraged by his workmates to go to college and find a career, he took up photography and eventually was accepted to study at Bradford Art College, after which he went to Bournemouth & Poole College of Art.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An industrial rubber gloveAn industrial rubber glove

On graduating he was awarded a Kodak Scholarship for Social Documentation and started to document the demise of industry particularly in Bradford and West Yorkshire.

His work is held in the collections of Bradford City Art galleries and museums, the National Media Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Royal Photographic Society, the V & A London, the National Coal Mining Museum for England and The Smithsonian Museum Washington USA. He has published 40 books.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

In 2012 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and in 2019 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Bradford for his outstanding contribution to the art and culture and the social and economic development of the city of Bradford.

He is currently artist in residence for the Bradford Institute for Health Research, Gallery Oldham and Yorkshire Water.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A rusting shipping container A rusting shipping container

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Scum in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Scum in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Steel barrier on the M62 Steel barrier on the M62

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Water and petrol in the canalWater and petrol in the canal