Suggested Research – Chris Steele-Perkins

Chris Steele-Perkins is a Magnum photographer, who in 2013 was commissioned, along with several others to document contemporary British manufacturing. Questions were being raised about the strength of western economies within the worldwide market and they wanted an exploration of the condition of Britain’s manufacturing future.

Russell suggested Chris Steele-Perkins as I was at the time considering photographing local shops/businesses, and it provided an insight as to how I could approach the task.

The completed project was called Open for Business with the new commissions building ‘on this photographic history of recording manufacturing and create a contemporary British archive, to be gifted to some of the UK’s most significant collections.’

Magnum’s UK photographers, Stuart Franklin, David Hurn, Peter Marlow, Martin Parr, Mark Power and Chris Steele-Perkins, alongside three international photographers Alessandra Sanguinetti (Argentina),Bruce Gilden and Jonas Bendiksen (Norway) have visited over one hundred workplaces across the UK; from one-man businesses to FTSE 100 companies.

These few examples show how he incorporated humour into his images, the props of their trade and different compositional elements. I liked his use of symmetry, levels and textures to vary what could have been extremely ‘samey’ industrial work portraits.

Although I did not eventually use this idea I tried to incorporate some of his ideas and techniques into my assignment one, such as the importance of the props to show my participation with the students, what our ‘end product’ is.

Steele-Perkins has had a varied career and popped up later in the coursework due to his involvement in EXIT. Having been given him as suggested research I already had a little background information which was handy.

He has given various interviews over the years with regards to his background and interest in the subjects he captures from Teddy Boys, to the Taliban to Centenarian’s…


Despite researching solely for assignment one due to his various projects and relevance to the entire course due to using both colour and black and white, his narrative style etc he is probably a photographer who I will reference on multiple occasions.

He is someone who has swapped from B&W to colour.

[in the 1980’s]At the time I was shooting in black and white unless an assignment specifically asked for colour. It wasn’t until the 1980s that I decided to get to grips with colour and start owning it, rather than feeling resentful that I was made to do it. Nowadays I shoot in colour all the time.

That’s it for now…I may add more….