J A Mortram l Small Town Inertia

Photofusion presents Small Town Inertia by J A Mortram, a solo exhibition based around his publication and long-term project of over ten years photographing his small community near Dereham, Norfolk.

Small Town Inertia is an on-going documentary project which has spanned over a decade. This important body of work sits within the rich tradition of British social documentary photography. Photographing within his own community of Dereham, Norfolk, Mortram’s gentle yet incisive work lays bare the circumstances of those struggling to survive in times of austerity. The community he photographs includes people dealing with a housing crisis, mental health issues, disabilities, and long-term health issues, all caught in a cycle of poverty and geographically confined within one small town. Mortram’s relationship with his subjects is a personal one and he has returned to them over and over throughout the ten years of the project. They share a common goal; namely, to be seen and to be heard.

Like his subjects, Mortram is tied to Dereham where he lives and works as a full-time carer. Having studied painting at art school, he returned home to support and care for his mother for which he receives as full-time carers allowance of £69 per week. His own experience brings an insider’s intimacy to the work as well as a passionate desire to make these stories visible.

Kim Shaw, Director at Photofusion says:

“Small Town Inertia is a wholly original and important body of social documentary work.  While the work has been made in Dereham, the themes are universal and are as relevant in London as they are in Norfolk. JA Mortram’s role as a full-time carer brings an insiders’ perspective and understanding to this work and we are looking forward to the conversations that surround this exhibition.”

This exhibition brings together images which were published in Small Town Inertia (Bluecoat Press) as well as unseen work which will form the basis for Small Town Inertia 2. Colin Wilkinson, publisher of Small Town Inertia comments:

“Dereham is no different from thousands of other communities throughout Britain, where increasing numbers of people struggle to survive at a time of welfare cuts and failing health services. For over seven years, Jim has been photographing the lives of people in his community who, through physical and mental problems and failing social security system, face isolation and loneliness in their daily lives.  His work covers difficult subjects, but is always with hope and dignity, focusing upon the strength and resilience of the people he photographs.

 A full-time carer for his mother, Jim is, like his subjects, unable to escape from the geographical confines of his hometown and his understanding and sympathy for his struggling neighbours is apparent in every photograph.”

This exhibition brings the community and Jim’s photography to a space where their stories can be visualised and understood. Small Town Inertia will be on display in our gallery from 9th September – 13th October 2022.

J A Mortram, interview with Creative Review – Read here.

During the exhibition proceeds from print sales, £25 per print, will support Photofusion’s work with Lambeth young carers.

Each print is an one of a kind edition from the exhibition wall, once the exhibition has completed they will be ready for collection. Any that have already been reserved have been documented in the gallery, if you wish to purchase an already reserved copy of a print please enquire.

For any print enquires please email us at [email protected]

Installation photography by Shannon Osborne.