I don’t normally share other people’s photos on this site, but on Friday I was out having a few drinks when a friend of mine called Graham Bennett showed me a picture of Geoffrey Brindley (aka Bradford Jesus Man) he’d taken years ago and I liked it so much I felt I had to make an exception.
We were chatting at The Sparrow and got onto the topic of photography. I know he has a keen interest and has dabbled himself so we often end up talking about the subject. Since I started on my own photography path Graham has always been very encouraging and supportive of my work and has seen me develop, but up until Friday I’d not really seen any of his photos. It turns out he has been hiding one hell of a good eye because I can honestly say the photo he showed me is the best picture of Bradford Jesus Man I’ve ever seen. I felt it was criminal that the photo was just sat on a hard drive, so I asked Graham’s permission to share it online so more people could see it.
The photo captures Brindley alone in a serene moment walking through the old urban garden where the Broadway now stands, casting a beautiful long shadow across the ground. It’s a very dramatic, well balanced, atmospheric image and shows a view of Bradford Cathedral that no longer exists, obscured as it is now by that hideous, flat pack shopping centre that passes for modern architecture. Anyway, I digress.
Geoffrey Brindley Passed away on 25th August 2015 and I’ve seen probably hundreds of photos of him since, but what makes Graham’s photo special for me is that it captures him walking through a particularly strange and uncertain time in Bradford’s history when we were in the middle of a very painful transitional phase.
Graham said he was just lucky as Jesus Man just happened to walk into his frame at the right place at the right time, and while all photography contains an element of luck this does him a disservice. Street photography is in large part about instinctively reacting to your surroundings and being ready to take the photo at exactly the right time. This is such a well composed, melancholic photo of a significant moment in Bradford’s history featuring one of it's most iconic and enigmatic figures and it's one of those times in photography when everything just falls into place, the perfect combination of subject, background, context and lighting conditions that all come together to create a great photograph.
Those moments are happening all around us, all of the time but it takes a good photographer to be able to spot them and react quickly enough to capture them. Graham has done just that here.
Thank you for letting me share it Graham, it really is a great photo and I think most people reading this will agree.