Ray's a Laugh Special Edition

Richard Billingham




This luxurious special edition celebrates Richard Billingham’s revelatory new edition of Ray’s a Laugh, one of the most significant photobooks in the history of the form. It presents a signed first MACK edition of the book, housed in an embossed linen slipcase completed by a tipped-in portrait of Ray, alongside a signed and numbered hand-made print in a card sleeve.

The publication of this special edition is accompanied by Ray’s a Laugh: A Reader, edited by Liz Jobey, which traces the book’s compelling history from Billingham’s ‘discovery’ at Sunderland University, through his Turner Prize nomination, to the present reworked edition. Purchase Ray's a Laugh: A Reader here.

Edition of 250 copies

Embossed linen hardcover and a signed and numbered hand-made print, housed in a slipcase with a tipped-in image
Print size: 8x 10” / 20.3 x 25.4cm

ISBN 978-1-915743-32-9SE
April 2024
€350 £300 $400

‘A landmark look at family dysfunction … from today’s vantage it looks just as bracing and uncompromising as it did when it was originally released – and perhaps even more relevant in the post-Brexit era of increasingly intractable inequality.’ The New Yorker 

‘[The new edition] is closer to Billingham’s original intention, even more full of complicated affection and disgust and black comedy and overwhelming anxiety about his family life. The flashlit shock of the original is preserved but is given depth and context in a series of previously unseen images.’ The Observer New Review

 ‘To perceive its revelation as salacious is disgraceful. Ray’s a Laugh compels us to see what is not commonly seen, and that is the most we can ask of a work of art.’ The FT Weekend Magazine 

‘[Billingham’s] intentions have remained as enigmatic as ever.’ Le Monde

‘The same stark depiction of poverty [feels] more relevant than ever.’ The Guardian 

‘The newly revised and sequenced version of Ray’s a Laugh adds weight to the work both figuratively and physically, massive as it is – and some sense of care and respect for the subjects that the first publication was missing.’ The British Journal of Photography 

‘Billingham’s lens never shied away from the bleaker side of their lives, and in doing so made Ray’s a Laugh one of the most enduring portrayals of 90s Britain.’ DAZED

‘Billingham’s work challenges the viewer to look beyond the surface, finding beauty and dignity where society often chooses not to look.’ ArtReview 

‘In Ray’s a Laugh, the artist recounts without rhetoric and with his unmistakable intellectual irony, a social context which is much more widespread than one might think, providing the international audience with a raw but desperately tender family tale.’ Lampoon Magazine 

‘[This] new edition restores the initial opus by enriching it with numerous new images.’ Polka Magazine

‘A series saturated with everyday life and things to forget.’ La Stampa 

‘The original Ray’s a Laugh didn’t help you understand his family. This version, with its sequences of Ray, with the ebb and flow of mood and space, with the melancholy and loneliness, with the longer quiet moments to offset the dysfunction, does.’ PhMuseum 

‘The scenes seem picturesque at first glance, but throughout the pages we feel tenderness and a lot of compassion for this atypical couple.’ Polka Magazine

‘There is an unconventional beauty to [Billingham’s] image making. He is a master of composition.’ Silvergrain Classics 

Featured in ‘10 compelling photo books to look out for in 2024’ DAZED

Featured in Harper’s Magazine

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