British photographer Richard Billingham has produced a frighteningly personal artist's book in the tradition of Nan Goldin's "Ballad of Sexual dependency" and R. Crumb's cartoons and films. Here the subject is Billingham's own dysfunctional family torn apart by the ravages of alcoholism and poverty. Billingham documents their squalid surroundings and violent interactions with shocking candor. He turns his camera lens on Raymond, his alcoholic father, stumbling through his life in a drunken stupor; Elizabeth, his mother, covered in tattoos who fills the emotional void in her life with her collection of pets; and Jason, his brother, an aimless young man who is drawn to drugs. This project blasts the lid off of one of our remaining taboos.
Ray's a Laugh - Richard Billingham