As a working class photographer from the North East, Tish felt an obligation to the people and problems within her local environment, and used documentary photography to highlight and challenge the social disadvantages she herself suffered. Unlike many social documentary photographers, Tish was from the same streets as the people she photographed, lending a poignant intimacy to her stark yet tender black and white images. However, despite early acclaim for her work, she was unable to make a living from photography and was unable to escape the poverty she documented. She died aged 56, her work relatively unknown.
Tish’s brilliant eye, her unswerving ethics and constant empathy are present in her images, yet little is known of the artist herself. In this feature documentary we follow Tish’s daughter, Ella, as she opens up her mother’s archive for the first time on screen to reveal a treasure trove of unseen images, artefacts, letters and diaries. Ella takes to the road to meet people who knew Tish and ask why she did not receive more recognition in her lifetime.
In digging into the past, Ella comes to terms with her own grief at her mother’s passing and reconnects with family members not seen in years. By shining a light on a working class artist who went largely unrecognised in her lifetime, the documentary questions the value placed on working class people both in the past and present day.
Director: Paul Sng
Cast: Tish Murtha, Ella Murtha
The studio has a capacity of 22, so it's advisable to book to avoid disappointment.