Publications we loved, and the big news stories from the last month in photobooks, including American Winter by Gerry Johansson, Void’s Hunger project, and JA Mortram’s Small Town Inertia
JA (or Jim) Mortram was born in 1971, and studied art in Norwich. In his third year of college he dropped out to become the primary carer for his mother, who has chronic epilepsy, in a small market town in Norfolk called Dereham. In 2006 he started shooting people in and around Dereham, focusing on those facing disadvantages and social exclusion; he went to create a blog called Small Town Inertia, featuring his images and their words. The blog was critically acclaimed early on, and in 2013 Mortram was one of BJP’s Ones to Watch. Mortram has made publications of three of his stories with Cafe Royal Books, and recently published the book Small Town Inertia with Bluecoat Press. The exhibition Small Town Inertia is on show at Side Gallery, Newcastle from 12 January – 24 March
For our first issue to land in 2019, we bring you a range of photographers from all corners of the world, all at different points in their careers, and who work across a wide spectrum of approaches. Among all their differences, common to all of their work is an implicit link between the personal and the political. The issue takes its name from the title of JA (or Jim) Mortram’s on-going project, Small Town Inertia, in which he documents the consequences of a decade of austerity in his hometown, Dereham, in Norfolk, England. He chronicles the lives of some of Britains most vulnerable citizens, and as a full-time carer, Mortram is one of them. In other projects we are introduced to the work of Japanese artist Mari Katayama, who was born with tibial hemimelia, a condition characterised by the absence of a large bone in the leg. At the age of nine, Katayama took the decision to have both her legs amputated. Now, she uses her body as a platform for experimentation and creativity, resisting readings of …
Invisible Britain, a forthcoming book of portraits, shows people who have been left out of the media narrative and left behind by government policy – people who for whatever reason fell on hard times, and found there was little or no support, beyond what they might be able to set up for themselves. Running through the book are references to austerity, the programme of public spending cuts introduced in the UK after the recession, and the impact it’s had on the people here – whether it’s in the lack of support for the full-time carer Greg, who ended up committing suicide, or the patchy probation offered to Matt, who’s spent the last decade falling in and out of prison. The spectre of Brexit also looms, and the uncertain future, but all too obvious intolerance, it’s brought in its wake.