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Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation : Chris Killip. A Retrospective


Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation presents “Chris Killip. A Retrospective” in The Cube, Frankfurt/Eschborn. With this exhibition, the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation honours the work of influential British photographer Chris Killip (1946-2020). Among the roughly 140 photographs on display, a particular focus lies 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.

Chris 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.


Chris Killip was born on the Isle of Man in 1946, the son of a pub owner. By chance, he discovered photography at the age of 17 when he came across an image by Henri Cartier-Bresson in a French magazine. It touched him so deeply that he decided to drop out of his hotel apprenticeship and become a photographer. After a brief stint as a beach photographer, 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. He was a professor at Harvard University, where he taught from 1994 to 2017, and died in the US in October 2020.


“Chris Killip. A Retrospective” was curated by Tracy Marshall-Grant, Ken Grant and Anne-Marie Beckmann and produced in collaboration with The Photographers’ Gallery, London. The exhibition was realised with the support of the Martin Parr Foundation and the Chris Killip Photography Trust.

Chris Killip. A Retrospective
until May 19th, 2024
The Cube
Mergenthalerallee 61
65760 Eschborn

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