Jim Mortram‘s “Market Town” is wide-ranging and ambitious. The work is an ongoing process, started nearly 2 years ago. A mixture of documentary, portraiture, and interviews, the project tells the story of those “often overlooked and unseen by the people around them or seen and judged without the care for the stories that are there to be shared and rich bonds to be forged.”
The photos are strong, and paired with interviews, the subjects and their histories come alive. An example:
Jimmy and the Jacks
Jimmy was and is a local legend. Always in the center of town, his two Jack Russell dogs Susie and Rosie in the front basket.
He’d hold audience with anyone that stopped to listen, rolling out tales in a thick Irish brogue.
Always on my periphery, little by little our street talks blossomed into long conversations back at Jimmy’s home. Tales of life in Ireland as a boy and young man, a Father that absconded leaving 13 children, hard times. Tales of life in London during the 1960’s, no blacks, no dogs, no Irish in pub windows. Hard times.
Now alone aside from his dogs the last year has been one filled with cruelty and chaos for Jimmy. During the last Summer he was involved in a hit and run, leaving him crippled with arthritis after the wounds and breaks knitted and stitched together. A year ago he could have been 50, now he’s feeling all of his 75 years, though his mind is still sharp enough to cut.
Susie died leaving Rosie and Jimmy alone but together.
The local Doctors where Jimmy would get his wounds dressed was ultimately a place of mixed fortune for him. Though the visits there have been painful he was approached by a family recognizing him as the owner of Jack Russells and they asked him to watch over a pair of Jacks for a few weeks. The family never returned to reclaim the dogs so they have become part of Jimmys family and a part of the cycle of everyday that keeps him going.
Jimmys hands, legs and shoulders are permenently in pain and it’s taking longer to do everything, opening jars, bottles and the walk to the local shop that would take 5 minutes, now takes 40 but the Jacks are there by his side, there at 4am when he wakes from the aches within, there when people are not.
Mortram is currently holding a print sale to help cover the cost of new computer equipment so he can continue his projects.