Chris Killip

Playground with three girls

1974, printed 2010

Chris Killip 1946–2020
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Image: 399 × 508 mm
Purchased with funds provided by the Photography Acquisitions Committee 2014


This one of six black and white photographs in Tate’s collection from the British photographer Chris Killip’s series Huddersfield, Yorkshire 1973–4 (see Tate P81015P81020). They were taken after Killip received an Arts Council commission to photograph Huddersfield in Yorkshire and Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk for the exhibition TWO VIEWS – TWO CITIES, which was held at Huddersfield Art Gallery and Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery in 1973. The photographs of Huddersfield present dignified images of local inhabitants, such as Whippet Fancier 1973 (Tate P81015) and Brass Band Member 1973 (Tate P81018), and carefully observed and composed shots of derelict shops and tenement buildings, as in Jimmy’s T.V. Repair Shop 1974 (Tate P81016) and Windowless Terrace 1973 (Tate P81019). Killip’s working practice is distinctive for the way he immerses himself into the communities he photographs and builds relationships with his subjects over a long period of time. This close level of involvement shows itself in the Huddersfield series through images that are sensitive to the local environment and its inhabitants.

Following this project, Killip – who was born on the Isle of Man – decided to settle in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and began to photograph the north-east of England extensively. He is considered one of the most significant photographers to have emerged in Britain in the 1970s, known particularly for his black and white photography and engagement with the communities he photographs. Tate’s collection also includes groups of photographs from a number of his other series: Isle of Man 1970–3 (Tate P20400P20422); General North East 1975–9 and Shipbuilding 1972–81 (see Tate P81021P81037); Seaside, Tyneside and Wearside 1975–6 (see Tate P81038P81041); Skinningrove, North Yorkshire 1982–3 (see Tate P81042P81048); Sea Coal, Lynemouth, Northumberland 1983–4 (see Tate P81048P81057 and P81063); and Pirelli 1989–90 (Tate P20394P20399, P81058P81062 and P81064).

Further reading
Chris Killip; Arbeit/ Work, exhibition catalogue, Museum Folkwang, Essen 2012.
Clive Dilnot, ‘Chris Killip: The Last Photographer of the Working Class’, afterimage, vol.39, May–June 2012.

Simon Baker
February 2014

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