About this artwork
This photograph shows Billingham's father Ray, whom the artist describes as 'a chronic alcoholic. He doesn't like going outside and mostly drinks home brew.' Billingham's pictures of his family are funny but also poignant and slightly alarming. He photographs his parents and younger brother sitting about at home, eating, drinking and doing nothing. In so doing, he presents a portrait of his family at their best and worst.
Richard Billingham was born in Birmingham and studied at the University of Sunderland. He began taking photographs of his family in their council flat in 1990 to use as studies for paintings. However when he exhibited the photographs as works in their own right, they quickly brought him to the attention of the art world. His photographs have been hailed as a mass of contradictions and praised for their lack of condescension. They are an unique and highly personal document of working- class identity in Britain, showing a 'warts and all' look at the life of Billingham's family.