GOING to Market is an exhibition of photographs of livestock markets - 1970s to the present day - by Settle-based photographer John Bentley and which opens next month.

John focuses on the human participants and traces the paths from long-gone markets right up to present day auction marts.

He first photographed a livestock market at Penistone in 1976, wandering in to the somewhat dilapidated brick and tin sheds where cattle were being auctioned. There were plenty of interesting ‘characters’ to photograph - this was really the end of the era where farmers dressed in characteristic long coats and cloth caps and buying agents dressed in smart waistcoats and trilby hats or bowlers. Nowadays it’s more likely that they’ll be dressed in logoed rugby shirts, jeans and baseball caps.

Over the next ten years he photographed several more markets, unaware that within twenty years most of them would be gone. However, two of the marts photographed have successfully moved to large new edge of town sites (Skipton and Bakewell). Over the past decade John has visited many present-day markets to record what they are like in the 21stCentury.

The exhibition contains a mix of vintage black and white and present era colour photographs, mostly covering markets in Yorkshire, Cumbria and Derbyshire. The pictures record the vibrant goings-on, featuring the buyers, sellers and onlookers, as well as the market buildings and livestock.

John is also currently working on a project to document northern hill farming, which includes photographing farmers at work, agricultural and sheep shows, sheepdog trials and the hill farming landscape through the seasons. In 2016/17 he was a contributor to the ‘Voices from the Land’ project and exhibition, which focussed on interviewing, documenting and photographing farmers in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Earlier this year, John’s exhibition ‘A Year in Hill Farming’ was staged at The Gallery on the Green in Settle. Two of John’s articles on hill farming have featured in recent editions of ‘The Dalesman’ magazine and his market pictures have also recently been used in The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s publication ‘More than a Mart’.

More of John’s market photographs can be seen on his Flickr site-


‘Going to Market’, can be seen at The Folly in Settle, from October 5 to December 23. The museum is open 11am-4pm Tuesdays-Saturdays.

He has had support and sponsorship from Skipton, Bentham and Hawes auction marts and Bagshaws Auctioneers, Bakewell Market, Derbyshire.