Richard Billingham is around one of my most favourite and inspirational Photographers at this time. I discovered him through my current Final Major Project which I am doing at Uni.
His book 'Ray's a Laugh' is a small documentary project around his family and home life. It follows his alcoholic Father, Ray and his obese, rough and ready, heavily tattooed Mother Liz.
As my project is based around the life-style change of my family following the recent break-up of my Mum and Dad and the harrowing events since, this book supports quite well.
In producing this work Billingham shot all his images on the cheapest film which he could find. Hence the slightly bad-looking quality of the images. He did this to be in keeping with the poverish cirumstances to which his family is in and to create this projects authenticity.
Each image from the book is as shocking as the next but as the viewer you dont feel as if the family are unhappy. They live in the typical working class life style of the 1990s but the images have a sense that it doesnt effect them. The family are happy living the way they do and wouldnt have it any other way. This I suppose is something to be admired.
You can tell by just looking at some of the images that his parents, Liz and Ray are still very much in love.
There is a comical value to some of the images... showing the cause and effects of Ray's drunk behaviour. Although you feel you shouldnt laugh, there is nothing about this book which says you cant!
You feel (well I certaintly do) that when you are viewing this book or simply the images online...you are in no way a voyeur, looking at something which is not your business.Billingham invites you to see the people who have made him through his eyes.
To check out the book 'Ray's a Laugh' click here.
Or to see more of Billingham's work follow this.