Friday, June 19, 2009

A Manx Stamp Album by Chris Killip

One of the perks to being one of the few photographers of note to come from the Isle of Man is that the postal office will eventually come around to issuing a stamp set featuring your photos. This honor has been bestowed upon Chris Killip and the occasion inspired him to create a small and very limited booklet called A Manx Stamp Album.

A Manx Stamp Album of Water Mills and Thrashing Mills 1970-1973 features the eight images that now grace the stamps. It was a huge surprise to me that only two of the images had made it into Killip's first book Isle of Man: A book about the Manx, even though they would have been a fine addition to the edit. Made around the same time as the pictures that did make it in, these describe the water-driven mills and crop thrashing machines employed to work the land.

Chris's portrait of the Isle of Man had more to do with a community whose identity was being encroached upon from the rich who were buying up the land as tax sheltered property. My initial drastic misreading of this work was clouded by a romantic tenor that I was ready to tarnish this work with. Turns out when you spend time with these photos and see the finer details of lives worn by constant work of the land, they become much less idyllic and more about survival.

The design of A Manx Stamp Album is simple. Small in trim size fitting to the scale of stamps, it features the photos on the right-hand side and each stamp adhered to the facing page. It is signed and numbered on the last page and was published in an edition of just 24. It comes enclosed in a small envelope that has been mailed on the first day of issue to Killip at an address in the Isle of Man and of course the postage used was his own stamps.

I should also mention another Killip rarity which is a booklet of postcards published by the Side Gallery from his exhibition of the Isle of Man work. It has 6 cards hinged together with a short essay by Nigel Kneale. Again, one of the images that appears here is not in the actual book version.

Lastly is the limited edition version of his newest book, Here Comes Everybody. This is by far a much more elegant edition. Each photograph was printed separately and attached to the page making this the true photo album which the trade edition strived to be. The covers lock closed with two flaps of cloth covered board and magnets.

This edition of 300 comes signed and numbered with a print.

For more information or to order A Manx Stamp Album visit