Framing The World Through My Photographs

Richard Billingham – Research

I have been familiar with Richard Billingham previous to this module. I have always found a certain charm within his images as I feel they show life for what it is. When I had decided i wanted to look at the representation of family my first thought was Richard Billingham, in particular Rays A Laugh.

His photo book doesn’t contain many words therefore I would need to conduct some research.

Bellow you can find all my research :

  • Richard Billingham, didn’t necessarily set out to become a photographer, he started off my studying art at sunderland university.
  • Billingham wanted to use his dad as a subject for his painting, however, he found his father wouldn’t sit still for long enough for him to paint him. when Billingham brought a camera he would photograph his dad and paint from the images.

Whist researching I found myself wanting information from Richard Billingham himself. I searched in duck duck as it doesn’t track your searched and found I gained a lot more research. I stumbled across an interview between Billingham and Gordon MacDonald. Which gave me a lot of information. In the interview they discuss the use of the snapshot. baring in mind these images were created for painting , billingham thought the need for them to be perfect was unneccasary, he wasn’t afraid to make mistakes.

Doug Rickard, ASX, July 2010 –

American Suburb X has always provided me with great views on artists works.

Doug Rickard expolres there series in a visually analytic way. He states there is ‘beauty in the ugliness’ I totally agree with this statement, some of the images the viewer shouldn’t like but I certainly can’t help allowing them to draw me into the images further, feeling involved in his family.

The body of work shows a voyeristic view of Billighmans family. The cropping of the images suggest a reactive moment where billingham responses, suggesting he sat with his camera waiting the the decisive moment.

Who needs the Royle Family-

This article for the Gaurdian, says why do we need the Royle family or big brother? when Billinghams records such an unadulterated fly on the wall body of work. Allowing us into his family, to see the times of dispare in his family, ( fights between mother and father & an alcoholic father).



Billinghams work Ray’s A Laugh, provides me with the perfect contrast to what the vernacular photo album sets out to show. As the vernacular album has the desire to show the perfect family image, not show what everyday family life looks like .

 Reference – 

Billingham RA (2000) Ray’s a Laugh.

Switzerland: Scalo.


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This entry was posted on December 15, 2014 by in 350MC - photography in context.
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