Having spent time working with foundries over the years, we’ve learned so much about these incredible and unique spaces. There’s something about the environment — the noise, the craftsmanship, the raw materials and finished products — that creates an impact like no other. It’s an impressive and intimidating place to be.
We’ve always been inspired by the stories that come from foundries — the people that work there, the families that have passed down knowledge over generations and the day-to-day lives of those working in this awe-inspiring world. When working with Sheffield-based Furniss & White, we spent time behind-the-scenes photographing the process and the people.
I have always chosen to work with the photographer Matt Swift on foundry photoshoots, for two reasons; firstly he’s great at what he does, but secondly, he gets just as excited about doing a foundry shoot as I do. We’re like two kids in a sweetshop when we’re in a foundry – except there’s molten steel flying about, not wine gums.
So, I decided that it was time for Matt to put on record why he enjoys shooting in foundries – here’s his perspective.
Hello Matt! Can you tell us a bit about the art of photographing a foundry?
Out of all the places you can photograph, there’s nothing like it. The first time you go in, it’s a very inspiring and terrifying situation — it feels very dangerous, and you’re just there with your camera and equipment. Foundries all run to a certain timeline so you have a very small window in which to capture what you need. If you miss out on it, you have to wait another day to shoot the same situation.
Overall it’s a very unusual, raw experience — so different from the every day. It’s difficult to explain it to someone who has never been in that situation. It’s like going to the Grand Canyon and attempting to describe how it feels being there — it can be that big of an experience.