Seven Days Seven Voices - Small Town Inertia, J A Mortram

Whether through poverty, depression, disease, addiction, mental illness or a multitude of these afflictions the stories in this book open your eyes to a world of those often forgotten, or perhaps consciously overlooked by society.

The photographer and author Jim Mortram takes photographs of his community while being a full-time carer to his mum. This allows for pictures that seem as though they’ve been taken by someone who understands and can relate to the subject. Hearing Jim speak it is clear how passionate he is about the message he puts forward with his work and how in many ways his photography is intrinsically intertwined with his life. He also has a compassion, understanding and consideration for the subjects of his work which is all too rare in photography. This results in Jim fully knowing the stories behind each image and even developing close friendships with his subjects, this passion and commitment can be seen through his work. As well as this the fact that he is a full-time carer means he has very little free time, therefore, the project has slowly evolved over years of hard work and minimal progress, this results in photography which feels like someone has really considered it instead of simply rushing through to finish and move on to the next project.

Jim Mortram is as much a writer as a photographer, which allows for a deeper understanding of the characters he photographs. Some people say that a picture says a thousand words but it’s probably equally true that a word can describe a thousand pictures. Hearing Jim speak it’s clear how committed he is to telling the stories of his subjects and how important his writing is in achieving this.

The book is also less capricious than many, while some books similar to this have highs as well as lows, Jim is determined not to ‘sugar coat’ anything and to fully examine the struggle that some people in his hometown experience. The title ‘Small Town Inertia’ by definition of inertia could refer to the fact that some things never change or that there is sometimes a tendency in society to do nothing to provoke change for those who need it most.

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