This website requires JavaScript.
  • Toggle Colour Mode
  • Get in touch
  • Toggle main menu
  • Toggle main menu

Included with regular museum admission, Life in The Iron Valley – an exhibition of work prints and rarely seen photographs depicting the village of Skinningrove by Chris Killip and Graham Smith opens on Saturday 16th March 2024

An exciting new photographic exhibition comes to Skinningrove’s Land of Iron on Saturday 16th March 2024.

Running for six months until Saturday 14th September, Life in The Iron Valley will display, for the very first time, a selection of early work prints from two renowned British documentary photographers who worked extensively, in the case of Graham Smith from 1969 to 1975, and Chris Killip from 1981 to 1984.

Celebrating the lives and landscapes of this small North Yorkshire village, Life in The Iron Valley is a document of a time when fishing and steelworking were the lifeblood of the community.

Supplementing the early prints, a collection of archival digital prints of Skinningrove - generously placed with the museum by Chris Killip - will also be on display.

The collection of images were collected by local artist and historian Stan Binks and were gifted to the museum by him. Many of the prints have been annotated by him with the names of the people pictured and the approximate dates they were taken. These notes – written on the border of the prints themselves – add a charm and authenticity which distinguishes the images from more traditional gallery displays.

The exhibition precedes the long-awaited publication of Skinningrove by Chris Killip in May 2024.

Chris Killip was born in the Isle of Man in 1946. He began his career as a commercial photographer before turning to his own work in the late 1960s. His book, In Flagrante, a collection of photographs made in the North East of England during the 1970s and early 1980s, is now recognized as a landmark work of documentary photography. Other bodies of work include the series Isle of Man, Seacoal, Skinningrove and Pirelli.

In 1991 Killip was invited to be a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University. In 1994 he was made a tenured professor and was department chair from 1994-98. He retired from Harvard in December 2017 and continued to live in Cambridge, MA, USA, until his death in October, 2020.

His photographs feature in the permanent collections of many major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum Folkwang, Essen; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Britain and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Graham Smith, born in Middlesbrough, studied at the Middlesbrough College of Art and later the Royal College of Art in London. In the 1970s he was among the photographers central to the creation of Side Gallery in Newcastle.

He photographed over a period of twenty years in Middlesbrough and nearby South Bank, two major steelworks towns. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather worked in the South Bank ironworks.

His writing, a story about his father, has appeared in Granta and his photographs feature in the permanent collections of major institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Regular admission to Land of Iron includes access to the exhibition and tickets can be booked via the website. Please note, the exhibition is only accessible when the museum is open. Land of Iron is open 10am-4pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Land of Iron is closed on Thursday and Sunday.