northern lights

June 23, 2020

With England preparing for a heatwave, the Tate posted this Chris Killip photo of a couple cat-napping in the British sunshine. From men fishing and children playing to sea coalers and couples eating fish and chips, Killip is known for his gritty reportage of communities in the northern regions of the U.K. Newcastle’s Anarcho-Punk Scene was central to Killip’s work in the 80s. “They are at the tough end of things, the people in my photographs,” says Killip. “It’s about the struggle for work, being out of work, fighting for work.” In this moving film, Killip speaks of the reverence he holds for his Dad, how he came to be a photographer, and how in spite of his large view camera, he was able to capture his subjects closely and authentically. “I use a plate camera and it’s very conspicuous, and I have a pistol grip so that I can trigger the shot with my thumb…. So you don’t know when I’m going to take a picture. Nor do I. It’s quite silent. And I don’t bring the camera up to my face.” Killip’s spends a lot of time with people, and immerses himself in their communities, so that his camera isn’t something odd and intrusive. “I can become part of the furniture.” Here, David and “Whippet” wait for Salmon to swim the stream in Skinningrove, North Yorkshire.


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