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Demolishment of Bedford Truck factory – Martin Figura, 2004

13 March 2008

This image is from an Arts and Business re-generation commission that I’ve been working on for four years, it’s been a long, slow project as it began with an old Bedford Truck factory before demolishment.

I went on to photograph the eventual replacement and the early businesses on the new site.

This portrait depicts one of the workers clearing the old site – it was the blue gloves that I liked. This work has recently been exhibited at the Hat Factory in Luton and will open again at Norwich Art Centre on the 28th March, where it can be seen for one month and comes with a nice little catalogue. I first showed at the Art Centre in Norwich in 1989 and have now shown here about five times in all.

It’s now eleven years since Martin Figura left the Army to become a photographer. He launched his career with a book called ‘This Man’s Army’, published by Dewi Lewis and with features appearing in the Telegraph Magazine and Independent Magazine. He imagined that a glamorous and adventurous life in far-flung places lay ahead of him, and indeed he is currently working in Dunstable and Great Yarmouth on projects.

At first Martin did mostly editorial photography for the Nursing Times and others, including Management Today and Channel 4. He did OK, once he’d adjusted to the difference between doing a personal project over five years and having to get great images every single time he went out.

In 2000 he got the job of Arts Council photographer in East England for ‘Year of The Artist’ and at the same time was commissioned to shoot documentary projects for Side Gallery in Newcastle and for Norwich’s millennium. The Arts Council job pitched him into a new world, one he has continued to work in, regularly doing commissioned arts projects. The money he earns isn’t great, but he also writes and teaches occasionally at the Art School in Norwich and at UEA. He sold his four-bedroom house in Cambridge and moved to a little terrace in Norwich. By reducing his living expenses he finds he doesn’t need to “drag his portfolio around the visual-illiterate Sloanes of the big smoke in the faint hope of something.”

Martin has been working recently on a short project with MIND in Great Yarmouth and is currently working on the final stage of a project for the Time and Tide museum, also in Great Yarmouth.

Photographer since 1997, EPUK member since 2000.

See more work by Martin Figura

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