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Chris Killip

British Photographer | Born: 1946
Born in Douglas, Isle of Man in 1946, he left school at age sixteen and joined the only four star hotel on the Isle of Man as a trainee hotel manager. In June 1964 he decided to pursue photography full time and became a beach photographer in order to earn enough money to leave the Isle of Man. In October 1964 he was hired as the third assistant to the leading London advertising photographer Adrian Flowers. He then worked as a freelance assistant for various photographers in London from 1966-69. In 1969, after seeing his very first exhibition of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, he decided to return to photograph in the Isle of Man. He worked in his father's pub at night returning to London on occasion to print his work. On a return visit to the USA in 1971, Lee Witkin, the New York gallery owner, commissioned a limited edition portfolio of the Isle of Man work, paying for it in advance so that Killip could continue to photograph. In 1972 he received a commission from The Arts Council of Great Britain to photograph Huddersfield and Bury St Edmunds for the exhibition Two Views - Two Cities. In 1975, he moved to live in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on a two year fellowship as the Northern Arts Photography Fellow. He was a founding member, exhibition curator and advisor of Side Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as well as its director, from 1977-9. He continued to live in Newcastle and photographed throughout the North East of England, and from 1980-85 made occasional cover portraits for The London Review of Books. In 1989 he was commissioned by Pirelli UK to photograph the workforce at their tyre factory in Burton-on-Trent. In 1989 he received the Henri Cartier Bresson Award and in 1991 was invited to be a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University. In 1994 he was made a tenured professor and was department chair from 1994-98. He retired from Harvard in December 2017 and continues to live in the USA.

His work is featured in the permanent collections of major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; George Eastman House; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; Museum Folkwang, Essen; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Source: chriskillip.com



Skinningrove 1982 - 84

The village of Skinningrove lies on the North-East coast of England, halfway between Middlesbrough and Whitby. Hidden in a steep valley it veers away from the main road and faces out onto the North Sea. Like a lot of tight-knit fishing communities it could be hostile to strangers, especially one with a camera.

"Now Then" is the standard greeting in Skinningrove; a challenging substitute for the more usual, "Hello". The place had a definite 'edge' and it took time for this stranger to be tolerated. My greatest ally in gaining acceptance was 'Leso' (Leslie Holliday), the most outgoing of the younger fishermen. Leso and I never talked about what I was doing there. but when someone questioned my presence, he would intercede and vouch for me with, 'He's OK'. This simple endorsement was enough.

I last photographed in Skinningrove in 1984, and didn't return for twenty-six years. I was then shocked by how it had changed, as only one boat was still fishing. For me Skinningrove's sense of purpose was bound up in its collective obsession with the sea. Skinningrove fishermen believed that the sea in front of them was their private territory, theirs alone. Without the competitive energy that came from fishing, the place seemed like a pale reflection of its former self. Common Market and Health and Safety rules and regulations, coupled with increasing insurance costs, brought an end to the Skinningrove I'd known.

When you're photographing you're caught up in the moment, trying to deal as best you can with what's in front of you. At that moment you're not thinking that a photograph is also, and inevitably, a record of a death foretold. A photograph's relationship to memory is complex. Can memory ever be made real or is a photograph sometimes the closest we can come to making our memories seem real.

Chris Killip

Remembering:
Richard Noble (18) and David Coultas (34) drowned off Skinningrove on March 31 1984
Leslie Holliday - 'Leso' (26) and David Hinton (12) drowned off Skinningrove on July 29 1986

Source: Howard Yezerski Gallery

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Chris Killip: The Station
Author: Chris Killip
Publisher: Steidl
Year: 2020 - Pages: 80
Late in 2016, British photographer Chris Killip's (born 1946) son discovered a box of contact sheets of the photos his father had made at the Station, an anarcho-punk music venue in Gateshead, Northern England, open from 1981 to 1985. These images of raw youth caught in the heat of celebration had lain dormant for 30 years; they now return to life in this book.
The Station was not merely a music and rehearsal space, but a crucible for the self-expression of the subcultures and punk politics of the time. As Killip recollects: "When I first went to the Station in April 1985, I was amazed by the energy and feel of the place. It was totally different, run for and by the people who went there ... nobody ever asked me where I was from or even who I was. A 39-year-old with cropped white hair, always wearing a suit, with pockets stitched inside the jacket to hold my slides."
 
In Flagrante Two
Author: Chris Killip
Publisher: Steidl
Year: 2016 - Pages: 108
The photographs that Chris Killip (born 1946) took in Northern England between 1973 and 1985 were first published by Secker & Warburg as In Flagrante in 1988, a volume that quickly established itself as the most important 1980s photobook on England and a classic of the genre. Compassionate but unwavering in its gaze, In Flagrante documented industrial Northern England in decline, suffering from the aftershocks of neoliberal economic strategies most brutally embodied in the policies of Margaret Thatcher. "The objective history of England doesn't amount to much if you don't believe in it, and I don't," reflects Killip. "And I don't believe that anyone in these photographs does either, as they face the reality of deindustrialization in a system which regards their lives as disposable." Chris Killip: In Flagrante Two revisits the classic photobook with a beautifully produced, radically updated presentation: each double-page spread features a single image on the right side. Strident in its belief in the primacy and power of the photographic image, In Flagrante Two allows for and embraces ambiguities and contradictions arising from the unadorned narrative sequence, completely devoid of text--forcing viewers to truly look, to witness.
 
Isle of Man Revisited
Author: Chris Killip
Publisher: Steidl
Year: 2015 - Pages: 96
British photographer Chris Killip was born at his father's pub on the Isle of Man in 1946; 18 years later he left his post as a trainee hotel manager to pursue photography full time, photographing the island's beaches. He moved to London shortly thereafter, but decided to return to the Isle of Man early in the 1970s to document its inhabitants, landscapes and disappearing traditional lifestyles. The series was first published in 1980. Thirty years after the publication of Isle of Man, Killip found himself reexamining the negatives from the series in preparation for an upcoming retrospective in Germany. "I hadn't had an occasion to think about this work since the first edition of the book was published," writes Killip. "Going through these negatives again I found new images that I now liked, but at the time had overlooked or had not used for reasons that now mystify me." These alternate Isle of Man images--some 250 in total--became what Killip terms his "Isle of Man archive." Chris Killip: Isle of Man Revisited, a lavish, large-format, clothbound volume, maintains the order of the classic 1980 photobook but with some key changes: some of the original photographs have been replaced by unseen ones from Killip's "Isle of Man archive," and 30 new images have been added.
 
Seacoal
Author: Chris Killip
Publisher: Steidl
Year: 2011 - Pages: 114
Chris Killip (born 1946) began photographing the people of Lynemouth seacoal beach in the north east of England in 1982, after nearly seven years of failed efforts to obtain their consent. During 1983 to 1984 he lived in a caravan on the seacoal camp, and documented the life, work and the struggle to survive on the beach, using his unflinching style of objective documentation. Fifty of the 124 images published here were first shown in 1984 at the Side Gallery in Newcastle and others were an important element of Killip's groundbreaking and legendary book In Flagrante, published four years later.
 
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