Richard Billingham received a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Sunderland in 1994. Here he began his project of photographing his family.
In 1996 he published his book Ray's a Laugh with photos of his family. Since 1998 Billingham's work has included video, again with his family and particularly his father as subject matter: Ray in Bed (1999), Playstation (1999), Liz Smoking (1998) and Tony Smoking Backwards (1998).
In a series of recent pictures Billingham has abandoned the family photos in favour of a documentary presentation of Cradley Heath, the Midlands town where he grew up.
Since his first exhibition at the Anthony Reynolds Gallery in London in 1995 Billingham has obtained international recognition for his works.
His exhibitions include Luhring-Augustine in New York (1997), Anthony Reynolds Gallery in London (1998) and in 2000 Ikon Gallery in his hometown Birmingham, an exhibition that travelled to Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin, Brno House of Arts in Brno, Hasselblad Centre in Gothenburg and Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center in Copenhagen.
Furthermore Billingham has participated in group exhibitions including "Who's Looking at the Family?" at the Barbican Art Gallery in London (1994), "New Photography 12" at Museum of Modern Art in New York (1996), "Life/Live" at Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1996), the famous exhibition "Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection" at the Royal Academy of Art in London (1997), "I Am a Camera" at the Saatchi Gallery in London (2001) and "Give & Take" at the Serpentine Gallery in London (2001).
In 1997 Billingham won the Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize and in 2001 he was nominated for the prestigious British art award the Turner Prize which is awarded every year at Tate Britain in London. That year he participated at the Venice Biennial.
In addition Billingham is represented at Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland.