Billingham is a British Photographer originally trained as a painter, though developed his photographic practice through a series of his images of his father and mother in Cradley Heath. The photographs were distinctive for their cheap quality with poor technicality- whereupon the subjects and the story behind the images were the main focus of the images of his alcoholic father, Ray, and his obese smoking mother, Liz.
Although seemingly grotesque and often violent in imagery, the emotion behind the images was what Billingham really wanted to portray- a deeper understanding of love, troubled relationships and hostility towards those we care about most.
In 1997, Billingham was included in the Royal Academy's Sensation show of YBA's in the Saatchi collection, also winning the Citigroup Photography Prize that year, and in 2001, his Ikon Gallery solo show (Birmingham) was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.
Whilst on a University Visit in my first term at college, I first encountered Billingham's work whilst on a photography workshop, and I was really fascinated and touched by his work- like many of the YBA's- the style is often intruigingly grotesque- art that might initially digust you or shock you, but you just can't help but to give it a second glance. Although, of course his work isn't intended to be aesthetically perfect, or beautiful, the humanist quality gives it a really warming feel, something that one can relate to, and be touched by.