Chris Killip

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Chris Killip (born 11 July 1946) is a Manx photographer who worked at Harvard University in Cambridge, from 1991 to 2017, as a Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies. Killip is well known for his gritty black and white images of people and places.

Killip is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award [Wikidata] (for In Flagrante). He has exhibited all over the world, written extensively, appeared on radio and television, and has curated many exhibitions.[1]

Life and work[edit]

Christopher David Killip was born in Douglas, Isle of Man and in 1964 moved to London where he worked as an assistant to the advertising photographer Adrian Flowers. He soon went freelance, but in 1969 stopped 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 1974 he was commissioned to photograph Bury St Edmunds and Huddersfield, and in 1975 he won a two-year fellowship from Northern Arts to photograph the northeast of England; Creative Camera devoted its entire May 1977 issue to this work

In 1977 Killip became a founder, exhibition curator, and advisor at the Side Gallery, Newcastle, and worked as its director for 18 months. He produced a body of work from his photographs in the northeast of England, published in 1988 as In Flagrante with a text by John Berger & Sylvia Grant. These black and white images, mostly made on 4×5 film, are now recognised as among the most important visual records of living in 1980s Britain. 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".[2]

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 color to show consumerism and for consciously and explicitly artistic purposes.[3] 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".[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

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





Photobooks by Chris Killop (flanked by irrelevant Pelicans)
  • The Isle of Man. New York: Witkin Gallery, 1973. Portfolio.
  • "Chris Killip Photographs 1975–1976 in the North East". Creative Camera, May 1977.
  • 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 3-86521-317-0.
  • 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.
  • Arbeit / Work. Essen: Museum Folkwang; Göttingen: Steidl, 2012. ISBN 978-3-86930-457-1. Text in German and English.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. A zine.[n 1]
  • 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. A zine.[n 2]


  1. ^ Café Royal's description of Isle of Man TT Races 1971 is here.
  2. ^ Café Royal's description of Huddersfield 1974 is here.


  1. ^ Justin Carville, "Chris Killip", Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Photography, ed. Lynne Warren (New York: Routledge, 2006; ISBN 1-57958-393-8).
  2. ^ Martin Parr and Gerry Badger, The Photobook: A History, vol. 2 (London: Phaidon, 2006; ISBN 0-7148-4433-0), 299.
  3. ^ Clive Dilnot, "Chris Killip's Portraits of the Pirelli Workforce", Pirelli Work, pp. 65–85.
  4. ^ Robert Ayers, "One of the greatest photography books ever published – Chris Killip's In Flagrante", Accessed 8 September 2009.
  5. ^ The book: Pirelli Work. Account of the photography: Killip, "What Happened", Pirelli Work, pp. 62–63.
  6. ^ Liz Jobey, "Photographer Chris Killip: return to a ritual landscape", The Guardian, 20 April 2009. Accessed 19 September 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chronology in Chris Killip 55, pp. 126–27.
  8. ^ "Exhibition: No Such Thing as Society: Photography in Britain 1968–1987 Archived 1 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine", British Council. Accessed 22 February 2008.
  9. ^ 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.

External links[edit]