Peter Marlow / Black Country / Birmingham
“Having worked in the Black Country many years ago looking at the changing nature of immigration and the closures of foundries during the severe recession in 1982, I was fascinated to go back and see how things had changed. Visiting some really vibrant businesses was such a contrast to the abandoned and bankrupt plants I photographed in 1982.
Approaching the subject as a ‘landscape’ photographer helped; looking for elegance and beauty within these very unstructured environments. I was initially attracted to the more traditional processes, which were visually arresting but were also the source of much dull and repetitive work. The challenge was to find a way of photographing the newer investments: machines which, in many respects, were simply closed boxes controlled by computers with material going in one end and product coming out of the other.
I was surprised how the old fashioned idea of ‘craft’ still has such a strong influence on the manufacturing process and also what a critical role new immigrants from the more recent members of the European Union play in many of these manufacturing success stories.
In most places, I was really grateful to be given very free access, where I could wander at will and work alone. I made a conscious choice not to photograph the personalities of the people working; instead I searched for the inherent personality and ‘feel’ of the plants, using just my curiosity as a guide.”
HS Marston Aerospace
Daines & Hathaway
Jaguar Land Rover
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.