In August of 2013 Jonas Bendiksen from Magnum photos came to Area Rugs studio in Mirfield for a photographic shoot for the Open for Business project funded by the Arts Council of England. During Jonas’s stay I also showed him round where my yarns are dyed at Calder Dyeing in Dewsbury.
The resulting photographs were used in the exhibition at the Science & Media Museum in Bradford and also the front cover of the publication to go with the exhibition. Unfortunately the shots taken in the studio didn’t make the final cut but Area Rugs and Carpets were in good company on the specially printed wall paper that was used in the exhibition.
Open for Business is the story of contemporary British manufacturing and industry told through the lens of 9 Magnum photographers. See how nine of the world’s leading photographers captured contemporary British manufacturing in our new exhibition; Jonas Bendiksen, Stuart Franklin, Bruce Gilden, David Hurn, Peter Marlow, Martin Parr, Mark Power, Chris Steele-Perkins and Alessandra Sanguinetti visited over 100 workplaces across the UK, from one-man businesses to FTSE 100 companies.
Their photographs take us from traditional, handmade crafts to modern, intelligent automation; from foundries and assembly lines to research laboratories and high tech cleanrooms, showing an economic sector of extraordinary resilience and diversity.
British industry faces several challenges and Open for Business reveals the daily struggle as businesses attempt to cut costs, streamline processes and level up to international competition. The project captures British manufacturing's effect on culture and community life, and celebrates the work, activities and lives of its employees.
These new commissions build on a long photographic history of recording manufacturing and create a contemporary British archive, to be gifted to some of the UK's most significant collections, including our own.
Open for Business is a collaborative project funded by the Arts Council England and in partnership with Multistory, Magnum Photos, this Museum, the Museum of Science & Industry, the National Railway Museum, the Science Museum, the University of South Wales, Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery, MShed and Street Level Photoworks.