Chris Killip Biography

Chris Killip in Peel, Isle of Man, 1997 © Markéta Luskačová

Chris Killip (b. 1946, Isle of Man, d. 2020, Cambridge, USA) left school at the age of 16 to pursue a career in photography.

In 1964 he was hired as an assistant to photographer Adrian Flowers before working as a freelance assistant in London from 1966-69. In 1969 he ended his commercial practice, returning to the Isle of Man where he created his first major body of work.

In the following years, he was founding member, curator and advisor for Side Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and its Director from 1977-9. Whilst living in North East England, Killip photographed extensively throughout the region. He committed to long term projects there, the most significant being a community of seacoal workers, the 1984 miners’ strike, shipbuilding, and Skinningrove, a coastal village that once thrived on ironstone mining, ironworks, and fishing.

His seminal book from this period, In Flagrante, is considered one of the most important post-war photo books published to date.

In 1989, he received the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award. In 1991 he took up a teaching position at Harvard University, where soon after he was named a full-time senior professor, chaired the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies for a number of years, and taught until December 2017.

In 2020 he was given the Dr. Erich Salomon Award in acknowledgement of the outstanding achievements in photography, gained though his 50-year career.

His work has been the subject of numerous international solo exhibitions and is held by significant collections including MoMA, New York; George Eastman House; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum Folkwang, Essen; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


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