Chris Killip, Gordon in the water, Seacoal Beach, Lynemouth, 1983 © Chris Killip Photography Trust/Magnum Photos
Chris Killip. A Retrospective
Feb 22 – May 19, 2024
Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation
Eschborn, Germany

We are honouring the work of influential British photographer Chris Killip (1946-2020) with a comprehensive retrospective. Killip poignantly documented the lives of people in the north of England, who were particularly affected by the economic shifts of the 1970s and 1980s. His portraits, landscapes and architectural photographs show both the consequences and challenges of deindustrialisation and those brought on by the political changes in the wake of Margaret Thatcher’s accession to power in 1979. Killip captured the harsh everyday lives of workers and their families in unsparing yet empathetic black and white images. They bear witness to the personal relationships he established with his protagonists over long periods. To this day, his social documentary approach continues to exert a formative influence on the visual language of subsequent generations of photographers.

Killip was born on the Isle of Man in 1946. By chance, he discovered photography when he came across an image by Henri Cartier-Bresson. He moved to London in 1964 and worked as an assistant to advertising photographers for several years. His 1969 encounter with the work of Walker Evans and Paul Strand in New York inspired him to return to the Isle of Man to photograph. The resulting images, depicting the simple life within the rural communities he was closely familiar with, laid the foundation for his later work. In 1975, he moved to Newcastle in the north of England and found his central motif in that region’s communities. Killip lived in the US from 1991, where he died in October 2020.

The exhibition includes roughly 140 photographs with a particular focus on the time Killip spent on the Isle of Man and in the north of England. Chris Killip. A Retrospective is the most comprehensive presentation of his oeuvre in Germany to date. The show was curated by Tracy Marshall-Grant, Ken Grant and Anne-Marie Beckmann and produced in collaboration with the Photographers’ Gallery, London. We would like to thank the Martin Parr Foundation and the Chris Killip Photography Trust for their generous support and the loan of all the works.

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