Top critical review
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on 19 May 2012
In Flagrante has been described as one of the most important photography books of the 1980s, on account of the impactful and resonant nature of the photographs.
Killip thrived on the political conflict of the 1980s. His work is confrontational, at times dark, and always challenging. Sean O'Hagan writing in The Guardian said,
"It is black-and-white, gritty, hard hitting and politically provocative - the photography critic, Gerry Badger, correctly described In Flagrante as `taken from the point of view that opposed everything Thatcher stood for'." (The Guardian, 2012)
It is generally regarded as an important record of life in the north east of England during the Thatcher years. Characterised by high levels of unemployment brought on by policies of de-industrialisation, the period was a dramatic era in social history. An acute sense of melancholy pervades Killip's photographs which are careful personal observations, rather than calls to action. Killip's work helped to establish the now familiar tradition of documentary photography located in the context of fine art.
My disappointment is in the presentation of one of the most important documentary photobooks. This is a copy of the original, and loses much of its impact through its scale and proportions. I would dearly pay more for a substantial work that does justice to Killip and his work. That said, it's all there!