Skinningrove is the last publication Chris Killip worked on before his passing in 2020. Known for his passion for photography books, he oversaw all elements of this book, which features many unseen images. We are very proud to now release this unique publication into the world.
Chris Killip is widely regarded as one of the most influential British photographers. Born in the Isle of Man in 1946, he began his career as a commercial photographer before turning to his own work in the late 1960s. His book, ‘In Flagrante’, a collection of photographs made in the North East of England during the 1970s and early 1980s, is now recognized as a landmark work of documentary photography. In 1994 he was made a tenured professor at Harvard University and was department chair from 1994-98.
The village of Skinningrove lies on the North-East coast of England, hidden in a steep valley it veers away from the main road and faces out onto the North Sea. The photographs that Chris Killip made of its, fiercely independent hard working-class community, between 1982 and 1984 are possibly Killip’s most intimate work.
“Like a lot of tight-knit fishing communities, it could be hostile to strangers, especially one with a camera. “Now Then” is the standard greeting in Skinningrove; a challenging substitute for the more usual, “Hello.” The place had a definite edge, and it took time for this stranger to be tolerated. My greatest ally in gaining acceptance was Leso (Leslie Holliday), the most outgoing of the younger fisherman. Leso and I never talked about what I was doing there, but when someone questioned my presence, he would intercede and vouch for me with, “He’s OK.” This simple endorsement was enough.
“I last photographed in Skinningrove in 1984, and didn’t return for thirty years. When I did I was shocked by how it had changed, as only one boat was still fishing. For me Skinningrove’s sense of purpose was bound up in its collective obsession with the sea. Skinningrove fishermen believed that the sea in front of them was their private territory, theirs alone. Without the competitive energy that came from fishing, the place seemed like a pale reflection of its former self.” - Chris Killip
Shipping Worldwide May 2024