Skip to product information
1 of 1


Ray's a Laugh: A Reader Liz Jobey (ed.)

Ray's a Laugh: A Reader Liz Jobey (ed.)

Regular price €20,00 EUR
Regular price Sale price €20,00 EUR
Sale Sold out
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.
In 1996, a collection of photographs captured by an unknown young British photographer burst onto the London contemporary art scene, garnering immediate popular and critical acclaim. These images offered a glimpse into the claustrophobic and chaotic interior of a Birmingham council flat, where the photographer's father, Ray, an alcoholic, resided with Liz, his sedentary and occasionally violent mother, alongside his younger brother Jason.

For the public, including cultured and art-loving audiences, these photographs were a revelation: more intimate, personal, and oppressive than the typical photojournalistic depictions of working-class poverty they were accustomed to. While some perceived them as a breach of trust exposing family members to potential humiliation Richard Billingham, the photographer, maintained that they were devoid of moral judgment and lacked social or political purpose. He had initially taken them as reference images for his paintings, and their transformation into artworks was shaped as much by the interventions of editors and gallerists as by Billingham's own intentions.

This volume delves into the history of this body of work, which remains as vital and provocative today as it was upon its initial release. Editor Liz Jobey provides a new essay tracing the evolution of the project, drawing on interviews with Billingham and key figures involved in its emergence, including Michael Collins, Julian Germain, and Paul Graham. Additionally, the book features a selection of conversations and essays spanning from 1996 to the present, authored by luminaries such as Charlotte Cotton, Gordon Burn, Lynn Barber, and Jim Lewis. Coinciding with the release of a new edition of "Rays a Laugh," which restores Billingham's original vision for the book, this publication sheds light on the intricate dynamics of art, publishing, and the politics of dissemination.

Paperback with flap
12.5 x 19.5cm, 160 pages

ISBN 978-1-915743-36-7

View full details