Open for Business

Open for Business is the largely untold story of British manufacturing and industry through the lens of some of the world’s greatest photographers. The programme has a dedicated website at

Pelamis Wave Machine, 2013 © Stuart Franklin / Magnum Photos

The UK’s traditional manufacturing base has been, and remains, critical to the success of the British economy, yet it is an under-reported story. The focus on Britain’s industrial skills has acquired even greater resonance following the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, which reminded national and international audiences of our history of innovation from Brunel to Berners-Lee.

Open for Business documents success stories, large and small, that reflect Britain’s changing industrial and cultural heritage. The programme tells the story of British manufacturing, capturing the current landscape and its effect on people, community and culture through the unique international perspective of Magnum photographers. It celebrates the work, activities and lives of people who are often not much reached by or engaged with the arts.

Multistory has worked in partnership with Magnum Photos to commission 9 world-renowned photographers to document and record manufacturing industries in 9 British cities. You can see ‘behind the scenes’ images of the photographers’ shoots on the Open for Business Tumblr site.

We are delivering an education programme in partnership with Creativity, Culture and Education (CCE), the UK’s leading innovator in connecting culture and education; our media partner is the Financial Times Magazine; and our printing and framing partner is Metro Imaging.

The photographers carried out their shoots from January through to October 2013, and the touring exhibition started on 31 January 2014, at the National Media Museum in Bradford.  It has since visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester; the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the University of South Wales, Newport; Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery, M Shed, Bristol and Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow. For more information on the project go to the Open for Business website.

Below are brief profiles of the photographers we have commissioned with links to their portfolios on the Magnum website.

Open for Business is partnering with a cohort of cultural institutions:

Stuart Franklin, UK

Franklin won acclaim for his coverage of the Sahel famine in the 1980s and has since completed over twenty assignments for National Geographic. Since 2004, he has focused on long-term projects concerned primarily with man and the environment.

Bruce Gilden, USA

Bruce Gilden is one of the most renowned street photographers in the world. Most of his long-term projects have been self-assigned and have led to the publication of ten books. Gilden is the recipient of numerous grants and awards and his work has been exhibited widely in museums and galleries. His most recent commission in London for The Archive of Modern Conflict was featured last November at Mois de la Photo in Paris.

Jonas Bendiksen, Norway

Bendiksen began his career as an intern at Magnum’s London office, before leaving for Russia to pursue his own work as a photojournalist. He has received numerous awards, including the 2003 Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York, and first prize in the Pictures of the Year International Awards. His documentary of life in a Nairobi slum, Kibera, published in the Paris Review, won a National Magazine Award in 2007.

David Hurn, Wales

Hurn is a self-taught photographer who began his career in 1955. In 1973, he set up the famous School of Documentary Photography in Newport, Wales, and has a longstanding international reputation as one of Britain’s leading reportage photographers. He continues to live and work in Wales.

Peter Marlow, UK

Born in 1952, Marlow is one of the most enterprising and successful British news photographers. Marlow joined Sygma agency in Paris in 1976. Assignments in Lebanon and Northern Ireland in the 1970s brought Marlow wide distinction as an international photojournalist.

Martin Parr, UK

Parr was born in Epsom, Surrey in 1952. His grandfather encouraged his youthful interest in photography and Parr went on to study at Manchester Polytechnic. He has since worked on numerous photographic projects that flaunt his provocative style, one humorously defined by the moral atrophy and preposterousness of modern times.

Mark Power, UK

Power is renowned for his long-term, self-initiated projects, alongside a number of large-scale commissions in the industrial sector. He is Professor of Photography at the University of Brighton.

Chris Steele-Perkins, UK

Steele-Perkins has been working internationally since the early 70s and since joining Magnum in 1979, has worked extensively in the developing world with a number of highly acclaimed reportages. His recent book ENGLAND, MY ENGLAND offers his very personal retrospective of work shot in England over the last 40 years.

Alessandra Sanguinetti, Argentina

Sanguinetti is a recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and a Hasselblad Foundation grant. Her photographs are included in public and private collections such as MOMA, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum Of Fine Arts Houston and Museum of Fine Arts Boston.