Chris Killip & Graham Smith: Life in The Iron Valley

Mon – Wed, 10am – 4pm; Fri – Sat, 10am – 4pm

Land of Iron

An exhibition of work prints and rare images of Skinningrove by Chris Killip and Graham Smith.

Life in The Iron Valley displays, for the very first time, a selection of early work prints from two renowned British documentary photographers who worked extensively in Skinningrove: Graham Smith from 1969 to 1975, and Chris Killip from 1981 to 1984.

Celebrating the lives and landscapes of this small village, Life in The Iron Valley is a document of a time when fishing and steelworking were the lifeblood of the community. Supplementing the early prints, a collection of archival digital prints of Skinningrove – generously placed with the museum by Chris Killip – will also be on display.

The collection of images from Stan Binks have been annotated by him with the names of the people pictured and the approximate dates they were taken. These notes – written on the border of the prints themselves – add a charm and authenticity which distinguishes the images from the more traditional gallery displays.

The exhibition precedes the long-awaited publication of Skinningrove by Chris Killip in May 2024.

Chris Killip was 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 recognised as a landmark work of documentary photography. Other bodies of work include the series Isle of Man, Seacoal, Skinningrove and Pirelli.

Killip’s photographs feature in the permanent collections of many major institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum Folkwang, Essen; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Britain and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Graham Smith was born in Middlesbrough, studied at the Middlesbrough College of Art and later the Royal College of Art in London. In the 1970s he was among the photographers central to the creation of Side Gallery in Newcastle.

He photographed over a period of twenty years in Middlesbrough and nearby South Bank, two major steelworks towns. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather worked in the South Bank ironworks.

His writing, a story about his father, has appeared in Granta and his photographs feature in the permanent collections of major institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Image: Chris Killip, ‘Leso with his dogs and a gun, Skinningrove’, 1983. Printed 2012-13.

Deepdale Mill Lane Skinningrove TS13 4AP

View on map

Until 14 September 2024

£10 / £7.50 / £5

  • Mon 10am – 4pm
  • Tue 10am – 4pm
  • Wed 10am – 4pm
  • Fri 10am – 4pm
  • Sat 10am – 4pm
Back to top