This blog post was written by Ouseburn Trust's Heritage Officer, Heather Richardson. She offers a short reflection on the death of renowned photographer Chris Killip and a look at the relationship between him and Davey Pearson, the man behind one of our photography archives.  

It was with sadness I read about the death of photographer Chris Killip at the age of 74. Killip is known for his stark black and white images of post-industrial northern England with his most famous book, In Flagrante, including iconic images of the north-east dating from 1975 to 1987. Published in 1988, In Flagrante was the first book of photographs I ever purchased and taking the book from my shelf now I realise I have pencilled inside ‘Heather 1988’. I was 21, living in London and bought it at the Photographers Gallery, then in Covent Garden. I had always photographed in black and white but being from Cambridge had never seen image quite like these!

Jump forward to October 2020 and I find myself living in Newcastle and working as Heritage Officer for the Ouseburn Trust. In the Trust's care are around 50,000 photographs by Newcastle photographer Davey Pearson (1951-2003). Looking at Davey’s collection it is easy to see how both men captured similar images marking the de-industrialisation of the region and its impact on the lives of many.

This morning while discussing Chris Killip with Allen, one of our devoted Photo Archive Volunteers, he informed me that Davey Pearson knew Chris Killip and had photographed an inscription from Chris in his copy of In Flagrante. I have included this image here, along with some of Davey Pearson’s images taken in Skinningrove, the village in Redcar North Yorkshire Chris Killip famously photographed in the early 1980s.

Chris Killip inscription in Davey PearsonFisherman at Skinningrove, Redcar. Taken by Davey PearsonMan in Redcar