Ray’s a laugh

Richard Billingham, exhibition photo at The Public, West Bromwich

Not long ago I was watching the DVD of the excellent documentary series The Genius of Photography. In the episode ‘We are family’, there’s a section on Richard Billingham, who became famous (insofar as any photographer is actually famous) in the mid-90s with the publication of his book Ray’s a Laugh, a set of photos he’d taken of his own parents—his alcoholic father Ray and his impressively tattooed mother Liz.

I didn’t realize, watching the documentary, that Billingham is actually a local boy: the setting for these photos is Cradley Heath, in the Black Country. There’s an exhibition of his photos currently taking place at The Public in West Bromwich. They’re beautiful photos—go and see them for yourselves.


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