Jim Mortram lives near Dereham, a small town in Norfolk. Dereham is no different from thousands of other communities throughout Britain, where increasing numbers of people struggle to survive at a time of welfare cuts and failing health services.
For the last seven years, Jim has been photographing the lives of people in his community who, through physical and mental problems and a failing social security system, face isolation and loneliness in their daily lives. His work covers difficult subjects such as disability, addiction and self-harm, but is always with hope and dignity, focusing upon the strength and resilience of the people he photographs.
David was blinded in an accident. Soon after his complete loss of sight, his beloved mother, Eugene, passed away and his life is now spent in isolation. In his dreams, David can see everything but when he wakes up, the blackness seeps in and he is in darkness. Money is tight, so he has a single halogen heater for warmth and covers himself in coats to keep the cold out. The transition of David being a man blinded to becoming a blind man has, for Jim, been powerfully illuminating and inspiring.
Tilney1 suffers from a debilitating mental illness, his care made worse by the closure of a local mental health team through devastating cutbacks. His loneliness is crippling yet he battles the effects of his illness and the stigma that surrounds it with his art and poetry. As he says: “I never chose to be mentally ill, you know? It was never a lifestyle choice.”
Shaunny failed a benefit assessment on a mobility technicality and appealed against the decision. He was left without any income for months, with barely any food, no heating, mounting debts and a weekly prescription list of powerful painkillers to deal with the trauma of a spine damaged in a work-related accident.
Helena was 15 when she was first raped. After a second rape, the resulting trauma left her diagnosed with post- traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. Now on medication, she fights on, dreaming of escaping a town that's now only a home to devastating memories.
Kirsty’s mother had epilepsy and drowned in her bath during a seizure when Kirsty was two. Enduring a dreadful childhood, regularly spending time in foster care when her father couldn’t cope because of his addiction to alcohol. She was bullied at school and self-harmed almost every day.
Kirsty's husband, Si, suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and became consumed with depression when his Mother, whom he had cared for, passed away. Their love has kept them together.
Simon suffers from epilepsy and finds that some people’s reactions are frightening. They smear excrement on his windows and bang on his windows and walls at night. Suffering many seizures, Simon suffers multiple falls, often resulting in head traumas and, as a result, he has repeated stays in the local hospital.
The photographs also depict the scale of welfare cuts … of housing benefit cuts ...health service cuts ... and the constant failure of systems that should care for the vulnerable
These people have a right to dignity, a right to be heard and not ignored. Jim is now publishing his photographs in a limited edition hardback book with highly regarded publisher Bluecoat Press. Please look at the great rewards and thank you for your support."
Jim Mortram is one of Britain's brightest talents. His long-term project about those on the margins of society has resulted in many accolades. The Guardian newspaper describes his work as having 'a timeless character that invites easy comparison with the classic documentary work of such British photographers as Chris Steel-Perkins, Paul Trevor and Chris Killip.' He was awarded in the Digital Camera : Photographer of the Year competition 2009 and 2010. He has exhibited internationally including Camden Image Gallery 2014 and Photoville New York 2013. His published work has appeared in The Guardian, British Journal of Photography (Ones to Watch 2013), Black and White Photography, Cafe Royal Books, BBC, Professional Photography, Flakphoto and aCurator.
This is Jim's first book and the limited edition hardback edition is certain to become a collector's item. The finished hardback will be 29 x 27 cm and will run to an expected 144pp.
We are delighted to announce that Pixelrights and Hahnemuhle - two long term supporters of Jim's work - have agreed to sponsor the book.
Risks and challenges
There are no risks. The photography for the book is complete and Bluecoat Press is a well-established publisher with a great reputation for producing top quality photobooks.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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