Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Case BLCG, Shelf D

Preparing a Warp

Photograph
1964 (taken), 2007 (produced)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Maurice Broomfield (1916-2010) worked to photograph the changing face of British manufacturing industries during the 1950s and 1960s. His photographs are recognized for their uniquely modern design elements, humanist strain, and their contribution to the documentation of the rebirth of British industry in the post war era.

Broomfield was often commissioned by manufacturers to produce photographs of a company's product, facilities and workers. One approach that lent a special force to his photographs of industry was his attitude towards workers; instead of emphasizing the mechanical or repetitive qualities of modern work, he chose to illuminate the strength and sensitivity of individuals. In his images, monumental machines and bizarre equipment are examined or operated by crisply attired men and women.

Heavily influenced by the New Objectivity aesthetic that emerged in Germany in the 1920s, Broomfield employed the use of dramatic lighting and unconventional camera angles, but brought the aesthetic to new levels in his use of colour film. He worked closely with Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) and llford, the manufacturer of photographic paper, to test new colour processes. His, and the industry's shift, from black and white to colour, is represented in these 12 photographs.

Broomfield's photographs were the focus of an exhibition at the Science Museum entitled "Maurice Broomfield's 'New Look' at Industry" (February-May, 2007). The exhibition highlighted Broomfield's photographs as important records of the post war era British manufacturing culture, but also pointed to their distinctly contemporary value: as the manufacturing sector has increasingly turned to cheaper markets in Asia and elsewhere, these photographs serve as reminders of a recent stage in Britain's manufacturing history.
read Maurice Broomfield – an introduction Maurice Broomfield (1916 – 2010) made some of the most spectacular photographs of industry in the 20th century. His work spans the rise of post-war industrial Britain in the 1950s to its slow decline into the early 1980s. From shipyards to papermills, and textiles production to car manufac...
object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Digital C-type print
Brief Description
Photograph by Maurice Broomfield, 'Preparing a Warp', 1964, Digital C-type print, printed 2007
Physical Description
A colour photograph of a female worker with a red headscarf operating weaving machinery
Dimensions
  • Paper height: 609mm
  • Paper width: 509mm
Gallery Label
Broomfield made his name as the premier photographer of post-war British Industry, promoting an image of commercial success and technical progress. Though most of his photographs were originally made to illustrate company reports and trade journals, he sometimes exhibited in trade exhibitions and photographic society shows. Broomfield often created dramatically lit, black and white images (examples are shown nearby). However he also worked closely with Imperial Chemical Industries and Ilford to test new colour processes. The images shown here were printed in 2007 from scans made from original colour transparencies. Broomfield used vibrant, contrasting colours to capture the sense of the sublime and the surreal, which he found in the industrial workplace.(20/03/2012)
Credit line
Given by Maurice Broomfield
Subjects depicted
Summary
Maurice Broomfield (1916-2010) worked to photograph the changing face of British manufacturing industries during the 1950s and 1960s. His photographs are recognized for their uniquely modern design elements, humanist strain, and their contribution to the documentation of the rebirth of British industry in the post war era.



Broomfield was often commissioned by manufacturers to produce photographs of a company's product, facilities and workers. One approach that lent a special force to his photographs of industry was his attitude towards workers; instead of emphasizing the mechanical or repetitive qualities of modern work, he chose to illuminate the strength and sensitivity of individuals. In his images, monumental machines and bizarre equipment are examined or operated by crisply attired men and women.



Heavily influenced by the New Objectivity aesthetic that emerged in Germany in the 1920s, Broomfield employed the use of dramatic lighting and unconventional camera angles, but brought the aesthetic to new levels in his use of colour film. He worked closely with Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) and llford, the manufacturer of photographic paper, to test new colour processes. His, and the industry's shift, from black and white to colour, is represented in these 12 photographs.



Broomfield's photographs were the focus of an exhibition at the Science Museum entitled "Maurice Broomfield's 'New Look' at Industry" (February-May, 2007). The exhibition highlighted Broomfield's photographs as important records of the post war era British manufacturing culture, but also pointed to their distinctly contemporary value: as the manufacturing sector has increasingly turned to cheaper markets in Asia and elsewhere, these photographs serve as reminders of a recent stage in Britain's manufacturing history.
Associated Object
Bibliographic Reference
Maurice Broomfield, published by Foto8, 2009Plate 40. Preparing a Warp "I have often been asked how or why did I get workers in factories to wear their everyday clothing. I didn't. Few industries provided special protective gear so it was normal for the men and women to wear their not-so-new, shabby clothing in the gfactory. Hence the stylish shoes and colourful headscarf." British Nylon Spinners, Pontypool, Wales, 1964
Collection
Accession Number
E.3730-2007

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record createdJune 8, 2009
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