Tish Murthas’ Youth Unemployment and Elswick Kids

Photo North are proud to present:
Tish Murthas’ Youth Unemployment and Elswick Kids 

at The Gallery at 164, Munro House, Leeds. 2 – 28th February 2019. Launch Saturday 2nd February from 5-7pm. FREE ENTRY

Documentary photography Tish Murthas’ exhibition offers a tender and frank perspective on a historic moment of social deprivation and instability in Britain.

The images from Elswick come from a place of anger and love, anger at the situation and love for the people.

Tish was embedded, passionate, activated and raw. Her position was both as documentarist and insider. She was deeply engaged with the community she photographed, and enraged by the political landscape of the time.

Tish’s interest in photography was always on a practical level, she loved to photograph people and was always very interested in them. She didn’t get the level of intimacy and humanity in her images by being an opportunist, she found she had a gift and a strong social conscience, and really believed she could help change things and make people take notice by stimulating discussions on real issues through her photography.

Patricia Anne “Tish” Murtha (14 March 1956 – 13 March 2013) was a British social documentary photographer best known for documenting marginalised communities, social realism and working class life in Newcastle upon Tyne and the North East of England.

In 1976, aged 20, Tish left home to study at the School of Documentary Photography at Newport College of Art, newly set up by Magnum Photos member David Hurn. After graduating in 1978, she returned to Newcastle and set out to document “marginalized communities from the inside” – unlike other photographers who came to document social poverty in the region at the time, Tish didn’t just document it, she actually lived it, as the third of ten children brought up in Elswick, she captured the lives of her friends, family and the community around her while herself on a job scheme for the unemployed.

Tish sadly died on March 13th 2013 the day before what would have been her 57th birthday, after suffering a sudden brain aneurysm.

As an organ donor she went on to save the lives of four women and eyesight of four men.

A book of the Youth Unemployment series was posthumously published by her daughter Ella through Bluecoat Press in 2017 and will be available for purchase.