classified 15

Please note: This was screened in Dec 2023

Paul Sng
Maxine Peake, Shin-Fei Chen, Ella Murtha
90 mins, 2023, UK
Primary language

An intimate, tender portrait of the late Tyneside photographer Tish Murtha.

Tish Murtha felt an obligation to the problems within her local environment. She used documentary photography to highlight the social disadvantages she herself suffered. She was from the same streets as the people she photographed. This lent a poignant intimacy to her stark yet tender black and white images.

But she was unable to make a living from photography and was unable to escape the poverty she documented. She died aged 56.

Tish’s brilliant eye and constant empathy are present in her images. Yet we know very little of the artist herself. In Paul Sng's documentary we follow Tish’s daughter, Ella, as she opens up her mother’s archive for the first time. She reveals 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. The film questions the value placed on working class people both in the past and present day.

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