The Photographers’ Gallery in London is presenting a full retrospective of the work this autumn, many of the photos were taken in Workington.
One of the UK’s most important and influential post-war documentaries
photographers, Chris Killip (1946-2020), will be exhibited from October 7 to February 19.
Taking place on two upper floors of the gallery, the retrospective exhibition of over 150 works is the most comprehensive survey of the photographer’s work to date and includes previously unseen ephemeral and color works.
Grounded in his sustained immersion in the communities he photographed, Chris Killip’s photographs of those affected by the economic changes of the 1970s and 1980s in the North of England remain unparalleled.
While marking a moment of deindustrialization, Killip’s hard but tender observation goes beyond the urgency of recording such circumstances, to affirming the value of the lives he grew up close to – lives which, as he once described, ‘had been made by history’, who resented history with malevolent contempt and yet, like the photographer himself, refused to relent or look away.
From early work made in his native Isle of Man, to overlapping series made over two decades in the North of England, Killip’s approach to depicting communities is explored.
In the context of shipbuilding and coal mining, he witnessed the
the unity of communities and industries that sustained them and stuck around long enough to see their downfall.
In Lynemouth, for his ‘Seacoal’ series, he photographed men on horse-drawn carts scavenging coal that had been dumped overboard by
a nearby mine, and at Skinningrove he documented a group of young men, their friendships and their labors as they waited for the tide to turn.
The exhibition, curated by Tracy Marshall-Grant and Ken Grant, is also inspired by the less familiar work of a photographer whose life and career proved so influential in the evolution of British photography.
Even less known is Killip’s dedicated recording of the miners’ strike of 1984-5 and his involvement in shipbuilding a decade earlier.
pivotal works that betrayed not only a changing economy, but the concerns of a photographer moved to witness it.
In dialogue with the prints made by the photographer towards the end of his life, the exhibition also considers Killip’s photo books, drawing on the first models to map the evolution of the books recognized as landmarks in the genre and to offer new perspectives on the photographer’s storytelling.
The exhibition is accompanied by a major monograph co-published with Thames and Hudson, edited by Ken Grant and Tracy Marshall-Grant and designed by Niall Sweeney.
The book includes a foreword by Brett Rogers, extensive essays by Ken
Scholarship and texts by Amanda Maddox, Greg Halpern and Lynsey Hanley.
The exhibition will be presented at the BALTIC Center of Contemporary Art in 2023 and is supported by the Isle of Man Arts Council and Culture Vannin.