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First published in 1996 to enormous acclaim, Richard Billingham’s Ray’s a Laugh is one of the most significant photobooks of the turn of the twentieth century, as well as a cornerstone work of the Young British Artists generation. Formed of starkly intimate images of Billingham’s often chaotic parental home under the heavy effects of alcoholism and poverty, the book was produced in the 1990s with editors Michael Collins and Julian Germain. This new edition restores Billingham’s original vision for his deeply personal work for the first time. Including numerous unseen images and a distinct approach to sequencing inflected by Billingham’s training as a painter: it constitutes a ‘director’s cut’ and reintroduces a vital and consistently challenging work for a new era.
The publication of this new edition is accompanied by Ray’s a Laugh: A Reader, edited by Liz Jobey, which traces the book’s compelling history from Billingham’s ‘discovery’ at Sunderland University, through his Turner Prize nomination, to the present reworked edition.
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