Chris Killip retrospective and photo book
We speak to curators Tracey Marshall-Grant and Ken Grant about their new Chris Killip retrospective exhibition and photo book.
The exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery is an opportunity to see how Killip valued and documented the lives of those affected by economic shifts in the 1970s and 1980s.
We speak to Tracey Marshall-Grant and Ken Grant who curated the new exhibition and edited a book of his work.
“Chris is one of the most important photographers in Britain and his work has inspired many photographers since,” said Marshall-Grant.
“Although Chris had shown much work over his lifetime, a full retrospective of this nature had not happened in the UK.
“After his untimely death of cancer in 2020 it became important to his legacy, and for other photographers, for this work to be put together in one project to be seen.”
Keeping Killip close throughout
Marshall-Grant and Grant were approached to take on the project by Martin Parr on behalf of the Killip family, Thames & Hudson and The Photographers’ Gallery.
The Martin Parr Foundation held a selection of Killip’s work chosen by the artist himself.
For Marshall-Grant this was one of the highlights of curating the exhibition.
“This showed us a route Chris wanted to take with his images and what he wanted included in an exhibition,” she said.
“So, in essence Ken and I were making the second selection for his exhibition.
“This kept Chris close to the project and our vision for it throughout.”
Chris Killip, retrospective
Marshall-Grant describes the exhibition as ‘an absolute treat for photography eyes’.
The retrospective is broken into several different sections.
The first, set on the fifth floor, is a series of chapters chronicling Killip’s early work and career.
This includes his work on the Isle of Man and his early days in the North East.
On the fourth floor three rooms display images from his key series – Skinngrove, Seacoal and Inflagrante.
The book is broken up in the same way but includes even more images and series.
It also includes some rarely seen colour work from Ireland.
Grant wrote four large essays for the book, chronicling Killip’s work, life and career.
It also includes further essays by Lindsey Hanley, Greg Halpern and Amanda Maddox.
“The book is the ultimate for those interested in Chris Killip, his work and his route towards the place he now occupies in photography,” said Marshall-Grant.
Skill and beauty
Killip’s continued resonance with audiences is clear to see.
The photo book is now on a second print run. The first sold out in less than eight weeks.
“The skill and sheer beauty of how Chris photographed is still inspiring to photographers worldwide,” said Marshall-Grant.
“Many still find the work moving and a source of great inspiration.
“To audiences more generally, the work resonates with a time of extreme social and economic difficulty in Britain and, in particular, the North East.
“Unfortunately this is quite possibly something which has a tragic familiarity in how some parts of society are again in these harsh and challenging times.”
Chris Killip, retrospective is on at The Photographers’ Gallery until February 19, 2023.
Details of how to order a copy of the Chris Killip photo book are available here.
It includes a foreword by Brett Rodgers and is designed by Niall Sweeney.