Dir: Paul Sng | UK | 2023 | 90 mins
Tish Murtha, a pioneering British photographer who used her camera to expose social inequality in the 1970s-80s, is the fascinating subject of Paul Sng’s (Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché) terrific new doc.
Driven to chronicle the impact of Thatcherism and deindustrialisation on working class communities in the northeast, Murtha explored her community from the inside, challenging stereotypes and highlighting the social disadvantages that she herself suffered from. She captured images that repudiated the fetishisation of poverty she saw elsewhere in the media, depicting the realities of her subjects’ lives with optimism, humour and humanity instead.
Presented by Murtha’s daughter Ella, custodian of the Tish Murtha Archive, as she seeks to elevate and preserve her mother’s work and legacy, Tish is a passionate and compassionate tribute to a brilliantly talented photographer and art world radical who located herself outside and in opposition to the dominant narratives of the times, speaking to those who knew her and studying the images she left behind.
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