Chris Killip b1946 British
Born on the Isle of Man Killip returned in 1970 to begin a three year project cultural study of the “tradition-conscious” way of life of its inhabitants (Jeffrey,1981, pg.127). Photographing both its people and rural farming areas he captured an era and way of life that was slowly dying. Isle of Man:a book about the Manx featuring images from the series was published in1980.
In 1976, reflecting “the merger of art , journalism and documentary” (Warner Marien, 2010, pg. 416) he became a founder of the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Side Gallery, a gallery committed to socially dedicated photography , of which he was a director from 1977-9 and curator until 1984.
Killip’s book, In Flagrante (1988) features images of the North East from the late1970s and the early 1980’s.The working class population of the area were hugely affected economically and socially following the decline of traditional industries and the growth of right wing politics.Killip immersed himself into the communities he photographed and “spent a long time getting to know his subjects, so that his pictures were taken as much from the ‘inside’ as it was possible for him to be” (Badger, 2007,pg.142). His images were not taken to precipitate change but depict a more “personal observation and interpretation” (Warner Marien, 2010, pg. 416) the book’s ” title focused a critique against the government’s efforts to reduce social supports, reduce the power of the labor unions, and create free trade” (Warner Marien, 2010, pg. 418).
His study of the small North East fishing community , Skinningrove ,was taken during the 1980’s over a number of visits , which enabled him to acquaint himself with the seemingly insular community he photographed. His relationships with the inhabitants and previously unseen images are discussed in the short clip below.
In 1988 he was commissioned to photograph the Pirelli factory in Burton-On-Trent. Unlike his earlier photographs of the oppressed and unemployed inhabitants of the North East these depict working men, beautifully composed and lit , almost theatrical.
Here Comes Everybody features images taken between 1993-2005 , including colour as well as black and white photographs of the Irish countryside and its people. Discovering Irish ancestry on his maternal side he felt “emotionally drawn” (Liz Jobey, 2009, the guardian.com) to the location. Returning year after year Killip was able to engage with the local population. The images lack the gritty hard-hitting impact of his earlier work, they are not intended to make an angry political statement , but have a quiet and reflective resonance.
Liz Jobey 2009 theguardian.com
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2009/apr/20/photography-book-chris-killip Accessed 22/11/2014
http://weareoca.com/photography/chris-killip/ Accessed 22/11/2014
https://www.facebook.com/SideGallery/info Accessed 22/11/2014
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-isle-of-man-27341080 Accessed 22/11/2014