Descriptions Ray’s a Laugh
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Photographer and painter Richard Billingham (born 1970) grew up in a cramped, high-rise tenement apartment with his mother and father in Birmingham, England. His father, Ray, was an unemployed, chronic alcoholic, often sleeping the whole day through, while Liz, Billingham’s overweight and heavily tattooed mother, filled her home with porcelain dolls and jigsaw puzzles, housing ten cats and three dogs. These are Billingham’s subjects. In stark comparison to conventional family photos around the dinner table or in front of the Christmas tree, Billingham’s images are raw, intimate and often uncomfortably humorous. First published in 2000, Ray’s a Laugh is now considered one of the most important British photo books of the recent past. This publication reproduces this renowned book spread by spread, including a contemporary essay by Charlotte Cotton.