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.