Great Britain born 1946
Nini, having lunch, Seacoal beach, Lynemouth
[(Girl sitting on coal pile, eating)] 1987
Collection Title: the series In Flagrante
Creation Notes: printed 1988
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph
In flagrante is widely acknowledged to be one of the most significant bodies of British documentary photography of the twentieth century. Martin Parr and Gerry Badger wrote that the work ‘is a dark, pessimistic journey, perhaps even a secret odyssey, where rigorous documentary is suffused with a contemplative inwardness, a rare quality in modern photography’.
Mines dump coal waste into the sea. Over time the action of the sea separates any coal out and the tides wash it back on to the beaches. In Lynemouth, a large colliery village north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, people had traditionally made extra money by collecting this seacoal and selling it. In Killip’s time a large camp grew up among the dunes, home to local as well as itinerant coal gatherers. At one time over forty people sought to make a living there, leading to a complex web of alliances and rivalries.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra