Chris Killip

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Chris Killip
Christopher David Killip

(1946-07-11)11 July 1946
Died13 October 2020(2020-10-13) (aged 74)
Notable workIn Flagrante (1988)
AwardsHenri Cartier-Bresson Award [Wikidata], Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation

Christopher David Killip (11 July 1946 – 13 October 2020)[1][2] was a Manx photographer who worked at Harvard University from 1991 to 2017, as a Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies. Killip is known for his black and white images of people and places especially of Tyneside during the 1980s.

Killip received the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award [Wikidata] (for In Flagrante) and was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize. He exhibited all over the world, wrote extensively, appeared on radio and television, and curated many exhibitions.[3]

Life and work[edit]

Killip was born in Douglas, Isle of Man; his parents ran the Highlander pub.[1] He left school at 16 to work as a trainee hotel manager, while also working as a beach photographer.[4] In 1964, aged 18, he moved to London where he worked as an assistant to the advertising photographer Adrian Flowers.[4] He soon went freelance, along with periods working in his father's pub on the Isle of Man.[4] In 1969, Killip ended his commercial work to concentrate on his own photography. The work from this time was eventually published by the Arts Council as Isle of Man: A Book about the Manx in 1980 with a text by John Berger. In 1972, he was commissioned by the Arts Council to photograph Bury St Edmunds and Huddersfield,[4] and in 1975 he won a two-year fellowship from Northern Arts to photograph the northeast of England.[2] He moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to pursue this work,[4] which Creative Camera devoted its entire May 1977 issue to.[2]

In 1977, Killip became a co-founder,[5] exhibition curator, and advisor at the Side Gallery, Newcastle, and worked as its first director[4] for 18 months. He produced a body of work from his photographs in the northeast of England, published in 1988 as In Flagrante[4] with a text by Berger and Sylvia Grant. These black and white images, "portraits of Tyneside's working class communities amongst the signifiers of the region's declining industrial landscape",[4] mostly made on 4×5 film, are now recognised as among the most important visual records of living in 1980s Britain.[2] Gerry Badger describes the photographs as "taken from a point of view that opposed everything [Thatcher] stood for", and the book as "about community", "a dark, pessimistic journey".[6]

The book In Flagrante was well received on its publication in 1988, but Killip's kind of black and white documentation of the underclass was going out of fashion quickly in Britain, as photographers used colour to show consumerism and for consciously and explicitly artistic purposes.[7] In Flagrante was reproduced in February 2009 within one of Errata Editions' "Books on Books". In a review of this reproduction, Robert Ayers describes the original as "one of the greatest photography books ever published".[8]

In 1988, Killip was commissioned by Pirelli UK to photograph its tyre factory in Burton; agreement on this was reached in April the next year, whereupon Killip started work. Attempting to use available light in a darkened factory in which work was done on a black product, he was at first unsuccessful, but in June he switched to flash and a large-format camera and photographed for three more months. The resulting work was exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum (London) in September 1989; it was published in book form by Ute Eskildsen/Steidl in 2007.[9]

From 1992 until 2004, Killip photographed pilgrimages and other scenes in rural Ireland; the result was published in 2009 by Thames & Hudson as Here Comes Everybody.[10]

In 1991, he moved to the USA, having been given a post at Harvard University as a visiting lecturer.[4] He was made a tenured professor in 1994, and remained as a professor of visual and environmental studies until 2017.[4][5]

Arbeit/Work was published by Steidl in 2012 to accompany Killip's retrospective exhibition at Museum Folkwang, Essen.

Personal life[edit]

Killip had a son, Matthew, with the photographer Markéta Luskačová.[11][12][13]

After his appointment to a post at Harvard, Killip lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the rest of his life, in 2000 marrying Mary Halpenny, who also worked at Harvard.[1]

Killip died on 13 October 2020 from lung cancer.[1] He was 74.[5]





Books of works by Killip[edit]

Photobooks by Killip (flanked by irrelevant Pelicans)
  • The Isle of Man. New York: Witkin Gallery, 1973. Portfolio.
  • Isle of Man: A Book about the Manx. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1980. (Distributed by Zwemmer.) ISBN 0-7287-0187-1 (hardback); ISBN 0-7287-0186-3 (paperback). Under the name Christopher Killip. With text by Killip and John Berger and quotations from various older sources.
  • In Flagrante. London: Secker & Warburg, 1988. ISBN 0-436-23358-4 (hardback); ISBN 0-436-23356-8 (paperback). Text by John Berger and Sylvia Grant.
    • Vague à l'âme. Paris: Nathan, 1988. Text in French.
  • Chris Killip 55. London: Phaidon, 2001. ISBN 0-7148-4028-9. Text by Gerry Badger.
  • Pirelli Work. Göttingen: Steidl, 2007. ISBN 978-3-86930-961-3.[n 2]
  • Chris Killip: In Flagrante.
  • Here Comes Everybody: Chris Killip's Irish Photographs. London: Thames & Hudson, 2009. ISBN 978-0-500-54365-8.
  • Seacoal. Göttingen: Steidl, 2011. ISBN 3-86930-256-9.[n 3]
  • Arbeit / Work. Essen: Museum Folkwang; Göttingen: Steidl, 2012. ISBN 978-3-86930-457-1. Text in German and English;[n 4] texts by Killip, David Campany and Ute Eskildsen [Wikidata]. A retrospective.
  • Isle of Man Revisited. Göttingen: Steidl, 2015. ISBN 978-3-86930-959-0. A second, expanded edition of Isle of Man: A Book about the Manx.[n 5]
  • In Flagrante Two. Göttingen: Steidl, 2016. ISBN 978-3-86930-960-6. A second, larger-format edition of the photographs constituting the 1988 book, with two extra photographs.[n 6]
  • The Station. Göttingen: Steidl, 2020. ISBN 978-3-95829-616-9.[n 7][11][25]
  • Chris Killip. London: Thames & Hudson, 2022. ISBN 978-0500025581. A retrospective.

Other publications by Killip[edit]

  • "Chris Killip Photographs 1975–1976 in the North East". London: Creative Camera, May 1977, Number 155, entire issue.
  • Askam-in-Furness 1982. Southport: Café Royal, 2017. Edition of 500 copies. A zine.
  • Isle of Man TT Races 1971. Southport: Café Royal, 2018. Edition of 500 copies.[n 8]
  • The Station. London: Ponybox. ISBN 9781999668709. 32-page tabloid newsprint publication.
  • The Last Ships. London: Ponybox. ISBN 9781999668716. 28-page tabloid newsprint publication.
  • Portraits. London: Ponybox. ISBN 9781999668723. 32-page tabloid newsprint publication.
  • Skinningrove. London: Ponybox. ISBN 9781999668730. 32-page tabloid newsprint publication.
  • Huddersfield 1974. Southport: Café Royal, 2019. Edition of 500 copies.[n 9]
  • The Seaside 1975–1981. Southport: Café Royal, 2020. Edition of 500 copies.[n 10]
  • Shipbuilding on Tyneside 1975–1976. Southport: Café Royal, 2020.[n 11]
  • Chris Killip. Southport: Café Royal, 2020. Boxed set of the five booklets previously published by Café Royal.[n 12]



Killip's work is held in the following permanent collections:


  1. ^ "Chris Killip: The Last Ships Q&A" (three-minute video), Tyne and Wear Museums, hosted by Youtube.
  2. ^ Steidl's description of Pirelli Work is here.
  3. ^ Steidl's description of Seacoal is here.
  4. ^ Steidl's description of Arbeit / Work is here.
  5. ^ Steidl's description of Isle of Man Revisited is here.
  6. ^ Steidl's description of In Flagrante Two is here.
  7. ^ Steidl's description of The Station is here.
  8. ^ Café Royal's description of Isle of Man TT Races 1971 is here.
  9. ^ Café Royal's description of Huddersfield 1974 is here Archived 18 July 2019 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Café Royal's description of The Seaside 1975–1981 is here Archived 22 March 2020 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Café Royal's description of Shipbuilding on Tyneside 1975–1976 is here.
  12. ^ Café Royal's description of Chris Killip is here.


  1. ^ a b c d e f O'Hagan, Sean (16 October 2020). "Chris Killip obituary". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f O'Hagan, Sean (14 October 2020). "Chris Killip, hard-hitting photographer of Britain's working class, dies aged 74". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  3. ^ Justin Carville, "Chris Killip", Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Photography, ed. Lynne Warren (New York: Routledge, 2006; ISBN 1-57958-393-8).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "British photographer Chris Killip remembered after battle with cancer". The Art Newspaper. 14 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Chris Killip: 'Remarkable' photographer dies aged 74". BBC News. 14 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  6. ^ Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, The Photobook: A History, vol. 2 (London: Phaidon, 2006; ISBN 0-7148-4433-0), 299.
  7. ^ Clive Dilnot, "Chris Killip's Portraits of the Pirelli Workforce", Pirelli Work, pp. 65–85.
  8. ^ Robert Ayers, "One of the greatest photography books ever published – Chris Killip's In Flagrante Archived 17 October 2020 at the Wayback Machine", Accessed 8 September 2009.
  9. ^ The book: Pirelli Work. Account of the photography: Killip, "What Happened", Pirelli Work, pp. 62–63.
  10. ^ Liz Jobey, "Photographer Chris Killip: return to a ritual landscape", The Guardian, 20 April 2009. Accessed 19 September 2009.
  11. ^ a b O’Hagan, Sean (31 March 2020). "Moshpit mayhem: The northern club where punks rampaged to Hellbastard". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 31 March 2020 – via
  12. ^ Angelos, Ayla (15 April 2020). "An exclusive chat with photographer Chris Killip and his son – who uncovered a lost archive of an 80s punk venue". It's Nice That. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  13. ^ Angelos, Ayla (31 July 2020). "Markéta Luskačová's Chiswick Women's Aid 1976–77 is finally brought to light after 44 years". It's Nice That. Retrieved 15 October 2020..
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chronology in Chris Killip 55, pp. 126–27.
  15. ^ a b c Haworth-Booth, Mark (16 October 2020). "Chris Killip: Recognition for a great photographer". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  16. ^ "What Happened / Great Britain 1970–1990", Le Bal. Retrieved by the Wayback Machine on 11 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Now Then: Chris Killip and the Making of In Flagrante", J. Paul Getty Museum. Accessed 19 October 2020.
  18. ^ Diane Smyth, "Now Then: Chris Killip and the Making of In Flagrante", British Journal of Photography, 6 June 2017. Accessed 19 October 2020.
  19. ^ Carolina A. Miranda, "Seven photos, seven stories: Chris Killip on capturing the declining industrial towns of England in the '70s and '80s", Los Angeles Times, 21 July 2017. Accessed 19 October 2020.
  20. ^ "Chris Killip: The Last Ships", Laing Art Gallery. Accessed 18 October 2020.
  21. ^ "The Station by Chris Killip", Martin Parr Foundation. Accessed 18 October 2020.
  22. ^ Kate Bush and Mark Sladen, eds, In the Face of History: European Photographers in the 20th Century. London: Black Dog, 2006. ISBN 978-1-904772-57-6.
  23. ^ David Alan Mellor, No such thing as society: Photography in Britain 1967–87: From the British Council and the Arts Council collection. London: Hayward, 2007. ISBN 978-1-85332-265-5.
  24. ^ Simon Bainbridge, "Brits Abroad" Archived 24 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine, British Journal of Photography, 13 August 2010. "British Documentary Photography Archived 16 April 2013 at", Photomonth Kraków. Both accessed 25 February 2011.
  25. ^ "Chris Killip's photos capture the freedom of punk in 80s north east England". Dazed. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  26. ^ "Chris Killip". Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  27. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (26 November 2012). "Deutsche Börse 2013 – a shortlist that's short of photographers". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  28. ^ "Photographer Chris Killip given an international honour", Isle of Man Today, 5 October 2020. Accessed 15 October 2020.
  29. ^ "Chris Killip is being honoured with the Dr. Erich Salomon Award" (PDF), DGPh (German Photographic Society), 25 September 2020.
  30. ^ "Explore: Artist > Chris Killip". Government Art Collection. AUTH13238 Archives. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  31. ^ "Chris Killip MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  32. ^ "NGA collection search results". Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  33. ^ "Chris Killip". Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  34. ^ "Chris Killip born 1946". Tate. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  35. ^ "Your Search Results". Retrieved 14 October 2020.

External links[edit]