Open for Business, Science Museum, London

Open for Business is a vast collection of over 100 dynamic and diverse images from nine leading Magnum photographers, including Martin Parr, Chris Steele-Perkins, Stuart Franklin, David Hurn and Peter Marlow will provide a behind-the-scenes look at contemporary manufacturing in the UK. Amongst the work are never-before-seen photographs from Chris Steele-Perkins and Mark Power, whist it is also the UK premiere of renowned street photographer Bruce Gilden’s colour works.

Commissioned in 2013 by Magnum Photos and Multistory, each Open for Business photographer focused upon a different region of the UK to create their own personal record of British manufacturing, resulting in an exhibition which captures the diversity and the people behind Britain’s changing industrial heritage.Taken during a period of global economic uncertainty, these images provide a timely opportunity to explore the present and future conditions of British industry, and its broad variety – with photographs covering areas ranging from shipbuilding by Stuart Franklin to Aardman animators by Martin Parr and theatrical prop makers by David Hurn.

Images of foundries, shipbuilding and assembly lines will be displayed alongside milliners, animators and research laboratories, while the exhibition will also include film footage and interviews with each of the photographers to provide further insight into their approach, as well as a free photographic newspaper with a pull-out image taken by Bruce Gilden that visitors can take away with them.

The exhibition is well-set in the Science museum, surrounded by much of its subject matter – as Ben Russell, Science Museum Curator of Mechanical Engineering, recognizes: “We are delighted to be able to offer visitors the chance to place Open for Business within the wider history of UK manufacturing. Audiences will actually walk past many of the cornerstones of the Industrial Revolution, including Puffing Billy, Stephenson’s Rocket and Thomas Newcomen’s atmospheric engine, before reaching the exhibition.”

Open for Business is a touring exhibition that first opened at the National Media Museum in Bradford and will travel to nine venues across the UK. Each of these venues will then be gifted a portfolio of selected photographs once the tour finishes.

Open for Business Until 2 November 2014 Science Museum, Exhibition Rd, London SW7 2DD

1. William Halstead, weavers of fine mohair and worsteds since 1875, Bradford © Jonas Bendiksen / Magnum Photos

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