Driven by a commitment to document the impact of deindustrialisation on working class communities in North East England in the 1970s and 1980s, Tish Murtha used her camera to expose societal inequality.
She felt she had an obligation to the people and problems within her local environment, and that documentary photography could highlight and challenge the social disadvantages that she herself had suffered.
However, despite early acclaim for her work, she was unable to make a living from photography and died in poverty.
Director Paul Sng’s astonishing film is an exploration of Ella Murtha as both daughter and custodian of the Tish Murtha archive. Told from the perspective of people who knew Tish, alongside the images she left behind, this film is a chance to elevate and preserve a legacy that has been lost, and to tell the story of an artist and woman outside of the ‘mother’ that existed for Ella Murtha– or the version of her claimed within dominant narratives of the 70s and 80s photography.