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In Flagrante

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With 50 black and white photographs: a view of Britain in the eighties reflecting the stark reality of industrial society in decline. Similarly, his images of the seacoal beach – where people scavenged for coal washed up from a nearby power station and mine – show a landscape and a community that have now vanished. It seems a dry take on images that were once interpreted as deeply political, but Killip doesn’t see it that way.

Angelic Upstarts at a Miners’ Benefit Dance at the Barbary Coast Club, Sunderland, Wearside, 1984, Chris Killip, gelatin silver print. Pick up a multimedia player free of charge in the Museum Entrance Hall or use your own smartphone on our free GettyLink Wi-Fi.Going back to his archive to prepare, he found prints he hadn’t looked at in 30 years, he explains – even images he’d never printed. Chris Killip ‘the objective history of England doesn’t amount to much if you don’t believe in it, and I don’t, and I don’t believe that anyone in these photographs does either as they face the reality of de-industrialisation in a system which regards their lives as disposable. Poetic, penetrating, and often heartbreaking, Chris Killip's In Flagrante remains the most important photobook to document the devastating impact of deindustrialization on working-class communities in northern England in the 1970s and 1980s. In Flagrante is a book of fifty photographs by one of Europe's most outstanding and uncompromising photographers. The show also features material from two related projects— Seacoal and Skinningrove—that Killip developed in the 1980s, included selectively in In Flagrante, and revisited decades later.

The removal of both Killip’s introductory text, and the accompanying essay by John Berger and Sylvia Grant, embraces the ambiguities and contradictions within the imagery, presenting an unadorned narrative allowing the photographs to speak for themselves. In Flagrante could have been made differently, the show suggests, and Killip’s achievement was much more than the book alone. The objective history of England doesn’t amount to much if you don’t believe in it, and I don’t, and I don’t believe that anyone in these photographs does either as they face the reality of de-industrialisation in a system which regards their lives as disposable.Some corner curling with crease to lower front cover corner, sticker residue to base of rear cover, tight and unmarked. Helen and Her Hula-hoop, Seacoal Camp, Lynemouth, Northumberland, 1984, Chris Killip, gelatin silver print. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival.

By the time this particular man reaches the top of the stairs, his individual legs will feel too tired for this particular concept to bloom. But the images show] this is what it was like, these ships were made here, this is how they made them – this place has a history, a big history. Rather than trying to pin all the blame on Mrs Thatcher, I was trying to pin the blame on all politicians, if that was what I was trying to do. The impact of these images is both immediate and enduring, creating one of the most authoritative and intense bodies of work produced this decade.

Drop by as photographer Luther Gerlach explores the art and science of early photography while demonstrating a variety of photographic processes and materials including large-format cameras, lenses, and interactive camera obscuras.

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