Chris Killip was born in Douglas, Isle of Man in 1946. Firstly, he left school at age sixteen and joined the only four-star hotel on the Isle of Man. In June 1964 he decided to pursue photography full time. He became a beach photographer in order to earn enough money to leave the Isle of Man.
After leaving he worked as a freelance assistant for various photographers in London from 1966-69. In 1969, after seeing his very first exhibition of photography at the MoMA, he decided to return to photograph in the Isle of Man. On a return visit to the USA in 1971, Lee Witkin, commissioned a limited edition portfolio of the Isle of Man work. Paying for it in advance so that Killip could continue to photograph.