Richard Billingham

Richard Billingham, originally from Birmingham, is best known for his gritty documentary photos, that he later revealed were of his own family. The candid Ray's A Laugh series revealed the raw realities of his West Midlands-based household; with an alcoholic father and heavily tattooed, chain smoking mother.

Richard Billingham (Photographer)

NOISE Curator, Photography 2008



Richard Billingham, originally from Birmingham, is best known for his gritty documentary photos, that he later revealed were of his own family. The candid Ray's A Laugh series revealed the raw realities of his West Midlands-based household; with an alcoholic father and heavily tattooed, chain smoking mother.

The set sky-rocketed him to success and in 1997 he was included in Saatchi's, Royal Academy of Arts Sensation show; showcasing young British artists that atre now, house-hold names, such as, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili and NOISE Art of Protest Master Gillian Wearing – (staged by Norman Rosenthal,l NOISE Curator fromr Fine Art). In the same year he Richard won the Citigroup Photography Prize.

He originally studied as a painter at Bourneville College of Art and Sunderland University (who accepted him after being rejected by sixteen art colleges).  Richard graduated from uni feeling heavily disappointed in the quality of his course, and went to work in the now defunct, low-cost supermarket KwikSave. However,  a, a career stacking shelves wasn’t on the cards, as he was quickly accepted onto the RCA masters course on the merit of Ray's A Laugh.

In 2001, he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, the UK’s most publicised and recognised award for art, for his solo show at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. Richard continues to produce new work and exhibits across the world.

He is a lecturer in Fine Art Photography at the University of Gloucestershire.


“I wanted to be a NOISEfestival.com curator to see what work was out there, what young people were doing – that was the most interesting thing. I was a bit surprised that lots of young people aren’t making work about real issues enough. These days, there are too many young people trying to find a style before they know what it is they’re trying to say, so they look at other people who are successful. But that’s wrong; you have to work out what you’re trying to say first and the style will come naturally.”

Richard Billingham

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