The Belle Vue Studio Archive
The Belle Vue Studio Archive
The Belle Vue Studio Archive
The Belle Vue Studio Archive
Image from Belle Vue Studio Archive, subject unknown. Located on the once affluent Manningham Lane, Bradford, and run by photographer Tony Walker - this was one of the city's main portrait studios from 1926 until its closure in 1975. Often referred to by clients as 'Stanford Taylor's', after the original owner, the business passed to Walker in 1953. Using a massive Thornton Pickard view camera (made in 1900) and quarter plate (approx. 82x107mm) glass negatives, the images produced were firmly rooted in the traditions of the Victorian daylight studio. By the 1950s Walker's photographic style and working methods were outdated, and his studio would surely have closed had it not been for the arrival of workers of Asian and Caribbean origin. The conventions of the Victorian studio portrait with its iconography of rigid, formal poses, had been exported across the British Empire. This style of image was precisely what these new customers wanted - something they could send home to show their new found wealth and success. A glance through the archive reveals a wealth of symbolism in the images: watches, money, books and sunglasses for instance, all shown to illustrate new-found wealth, education and sophistication. Suits and ties were worn, often lent by the photographer to his clients. As well as giving people what they wanted, he also treated his new clientele with respect and became the photographer to visit in Bradford. Unfortunately, much of the archive was destroyed when Walker cleared his studio in 1985. Like many old photographers he did not place much value on his negatives. What did survive provides a unique and valuable insight into the early days of different communities in Bradford.
Category people
Belle Vue Studio
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This image can be purchased for personal use only. If you would like to buy a higher resolution download or print, or if you require a copy for publishing or other commercial use, please email Bradford Museums Photo Archive.

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