Jim Mortram

Jim Mortram’s Lecture

Jim Mortram is a documentary and portrait photographer located in East Anglia, UK (Documenting Britain n.d.). Jim’s work focuses on Small Town Inertia exploring the intimate stories of marginalised individuals (Documenting Britain n.d.). Mortram’s work explored untold stories or a rural community in which he lives (Documenting Britiain n.d.). Mortram accidentally became involved in photography (Mortram 2017). He received a camera of his friend and slowly started to gain a larger interest in it (Mortram 2017). “They do say the best stories are often found on your own doorstep. Mortram, who is the primary carer to a mother with severe epilepsy, fell into documentary work more or less by accident, and works exclusively within his local community” (The Guardian 2014).

Mortram works with people in his close community, working with people within the same borough may be beneficial to my project as they will be a lot more accessible. Mortram explained to our group his journey in photography and how it has helped him develop in many areas of life. This may be an explanation to my body of work, as if I am using photography to understand and deal with my situation. Mortram project is on-going. He never leaves his subjects as he constantly re-visits and re-photographs (Mortram 2017, Scott 2014). His work is inspired as he doesn’t just get that perfect picture and then leave, he works with his subjects and cares for them and because of this his work has a realistic beautiful style, as if you can feel the emotion of his subjects in the photographs. It is important to reflect on Mortram’s practice and consider how despite my current project, this situation will always be a part of my family and I must be careful as to how in depth I go and constantly keep and interest in the topic.


(Mortram 2015)

(Scott 2014)

Jim Mortram’s Tutorial

  • Do a piece from my perspective (a letter I write to him)
  • A story is not there to be depressing
  • Illuminate story and empower someone with the message
  • There’s loads of bulls*it with family
  • Don’t be like a tabloid journalist
  • Show what it is like to be stuck In the middle of this situation
  • Try not to please mum and nan, if need be take a different path
  • Do not want to create film and then find out ‘we don’t want this big published’
  • A lot of the situation is out of my control
  • Try and show my perspective as that is the only part that is guaranteed as fact
  • Use the narrative to fill in the blanks
  • Going to have a lot of editors on my back if I try and please everyone
  • A lot of opinions of peoples stories
  • How much of what people tell is the truth
  • People don’t want to admit there failures
  • Interesting how thousands of people are in a very similar situation and cant process there feelings.
  • I’ve painted a framework that’s hard to control
  • My family cant control how I feel about the situation
  • Put more in about what the situation if for me
  • Black and white is like negative space, if I want to do it then do
  • I should consider narrating the story
  • I have the rights to the definitive narrative

It is interesting to see the different perspective people have on the original idea. Mortram’s tutorial allows a different perspective and a good idea of how I can reverse the roles and explore my side of the story. With this I can still use the information I’ve gained yet I can allow more factual elements, as it will deeply explore my feelings. Despite it being my family at no point do I need to be in the camera, I may write it myself and get an actor to play my role? This may also be beneficial as I have many more connections to actors my own age rather then elderly. Remember that many people have family members they have not met, despite their situation differencing to mine it may touch a nerve. Focus clearly on what I want the audience to feel and take away from the body of work.


(Mortram 2014)


Documenting Britain (n.d.) Jim Mortram [online] available from <http://www.documentingbritain.com/jimmortram/&gt; [20 July 2006]

Mortram, J. (2014) Market Town: David : As Cold as Clay [online] available from < http://smalltowninertia.co.uk/market-town-david-as-cold-as-clay/&gt; [14 February 2017]

Mortram, J. (2015) Market Town: Tilney1 : Mixed Media Protection Cocoon [online] available from < http://smalltowninertia.co.uk/market-town-tilney1-mixed-media-protection-cocoon/> [14 February 2017]

Mortram, J. (2017) Journey into photography [lecture] module 367MC, 14 February 2017. Coventry: Coventry University

Scott, G. (2014) PODCAST: An Interview with Photographer Jim Mortram. [ONLINE] available from < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VSsQRJ0j-c&gt; [14 February 2017]

The Guardian (2014) Jim Mortram [online] available from <https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/feb/19/people-photograph-dont-have-voice-jim-mortram-norfolk-portraits&gt; [14 February 2017]

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