Lay of the Land: Documentary Practices Today

06:30pm - 08:00pm, Thu 09 Feb 2023

“[He] spent a lifetime photographing in places where he had built relationships, where there was trust and respect” –Gregory Halpern on Chris Killip

Group of people standing together

Lay of the Land: Documentary Practices Today

6:30pm, Thu 09 Feb 2023

“[He] spent a lifetime photographing in places where he had built relationships, where there was trust and respect” –Gregory Halpern on Chris Killip

This event is part of our Past Programme

What considerations need to be made when recording a place and its people? What new ways of seeing and understanding does contemporary documentary photography offer about the world around us?

This new talk brings together Kirsty Mackay and Dominic Whisson to discuss their respective practices, which use photography to examine social issues that intersect with class, industry and the environment, and the ongoing influence of Chris Killip. Joining them is Chris Killip, retrospective co-curator Tracy Marshall-Grant




Tracy Marshall-Grant is an arts director, curator and producer specializing in photography exhibitions, festivals, education and archive projects. She is the incoming Deputy Director of the Centre for British Photography, which opens in January 2023 and houses the Hyman Collection.

Tracy is co-founder and Director of Northern Narratives, the non-venue-based photography production company specializing in archive exhibitions and long-term archive development projects. Recent activity includes a large international tour and publication of Martin Parr’s Irish work – currently touring museums and galleries in Ireland and America until 2023. She has worked with Marketa Luskacova, Jem Southam, Café Royal Books and RRB Publications on a number of publications and exhibitions and is currently developing the Chris Killip retrospective with Thames & Hudson, The Photographers’ Gallery and BALTIC. She is also Director of Liverpool photographer Ken Grant’s archive.

Previously Tracy has held positions at the Royal Photographic Society, Bristol Photo Festival, LOOK Photo Biennial in Liverpool and Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, and Belfast Exposed Gallery.

Kirsty Mackay is a documentary photographer, activist and filmmaker. Her research-led documentary practice highlights social issues surrounding gender, class and discrimination. She has an MA in Documentary photography from University of South Wales, Newport.

Her most recent book, The Fish That Never Swam, considers class and discrimination against working-class people. Combining first-person narratives with photographs, it takes Glasgow as a case study, looking at the root causes of the city’s poor health outcomes and lower life expectancy.

Examining the relationship between the environment, government policy, historical trauma, and public health. It shifts the emphasis from individual lifestyle choices to the effects that political policies have on our bodies. Her work is exhibited internationally, most recently in the Facing Britain group show, an observation of British Documentary Photography since the 60’s and held in collections including the V&A and Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Dominic Whisson is a British documentary and portrait photographer based in London. He focuses on a broad spectrum of subject matter, with a particular interest in capturing working class life in the U.K. His personal projects examine the scope of humanity through a documentary lens, a sensibility that is also reflected in his editorial work, which has included numerous celebrity portraits. Dominic’s photographs have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and in exhibitions in England.


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