I am Ella Murtha, daughter of Tish Murtha and am launching this Kickstarter to fund a book of her photographs.
Tish believed that photography could change lives for the better but sadly died of a brain aneurysm in 2013 before her dream of a book could be realised.
Tish was born in South Shields, near Newcastle, in 1956, the 3rd of 10 children. She left school at 16 and had a variety of different jobs from selling hot dogs to working in a petrol station. After enrolling on a night photography course, Tish decided she wanted to become a photographer and was offered a place at the prestigious School of Documentary Photography at the University of Wales under the guidance of Magnum photographer David Hurn.
Looking through my mam’s photographs gave me something to focus on rather than the gaping hole left by her loss.
As I started sharing her photos on social media, the response from people was overwhelming. The work really seemed to strike a chord - especially the Youth Unemployment series. The photographs were shot over a few years starting in 1979 and exhibited at Newcastle’s Side Gallery in 1981. They captured the hardship that the North East of England suffered during the Thatcher era. It really was a desperate time - a period of bitter conflict as young people grew more and more frustrated with an economic system that deprived them of a productive and meaningful future.
Looking back all these years later, what hits me above all else is that my mam had hope. She hoped that by showing the reality of those kids’ lives, and the waste and squandering of their potential, that she could somehow bring about a change.
Tish was a great visual storyteller: despite the bleak surroundings and the obvious despair there are glimpses of joy and a wonderful sense of humour and friendship among the young people. Tish genuinely cared about the people she documented. They were her family, friends and neighbours. She wanted to try and help in the only way she could - with her camera.
Tish was a brilliant photographer and this book will be an important addition to the history of British documentary photography. This is my gift to my mam, to secure her place in photographic history and have her work published. She deserves it.
Using the notes from the original exhibition I can see her thoughts and selection process as she chose her favourite photographs and I have selected images that I feel she would be happy with. It is massively important that I, as Tish's daughter, am making this book, and feel blessed to be collaborating with some amazing people.
Thank you to Olympus and Metro Imaging for their very welcome support.
Highly respected publishers Bluecoat Press are publishing Youth Unemployment as a limited edition hardback book of c.180 pages, with a foreword by Magnum member David Hurn and essay by Professor Val Williams.
It will also include the original essay 'Youth Unemployment in the West End of Newcastle' written by Tish to accompany her exhibition, and which was read out in the House of Commons, along with other notes from the time.
Please take a look at the great rewards on offer and thank you for your support.
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
- (30 days)