VLOG 051 | Small Town Inertia by JA Mortram | Photography Books

Small Town Inertia photobook review


I literally stumbled upon Jim Mortram’s Small Town Inertia project quite a few years back totally by luck, via social media on Tumblr and Flickr. It happened on one of those photojournalism Google searches, that ended up down a black and white internet rabbit hole, swerving from Eugene Smith through to Don McCullin.

I'm still obsessed with the search. I cannot believe it is even possible, considering all the technology. The only way of gaining any new insight or view on a photographers work whilst I was starting out, were the endless obsessive trips to the world's shittest provincial bookshops, delving between the knitting and woodworking sections. And the odd (and I mean odd) exhibition. Oh...and a paragraph or two in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Followed by the monthly rifling through the pages of Practical Photographer in WH Smith, which was the world's shittest photography magazine. Right through to the golden copies of National Geographic, stacked high and untouched (we're talking provincial England here) in the doctor's disease ridden waiting room, whilst awaiting that ever elusive cure for repeated teenage glandular fever.

Jim Mortram's excellent storytelling, definitely the medium format black and white photography, plus his impecable usage of modern profanity on The Twitterhelped me really understand what he was trying to get across to the rest of the human race.

It really opened my eyes. I mean, geographically Jim lives a stones throw from me really. Yet, his home area and the people within it are really struggling, struggling with a system that has no mercy. This totally opened my eyes, as I was traversing the metropolis of London, where I always revelled in anonymity. Yet, like the people of Dereham, my fellow Londoners also struggle from an anonymity they cannot control. This is a national/global problem and Jim's work really distills these issues with locality.



So following on to the great community, there was a very successful Small Town Inertia Kickstarter Campaign (£21,810 pledged from an £8k goal!!) to finally produce one of the years most eagerly anticipated hardback photobooks, published by Bluecoat Press. I was in from the start and recently received the benefits of the pledge I made.


Jim Mortram lives near Dereham, a small town in Norfolk. 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 the last seven years, Jim has been photographing the lives of people in his community who, through physical and mental problems and a failing social security system, face isolation and loneliness in their daily lives. His work covers difficult subjects such as disability, addiction and self-harm, but is always with hope and dignity, focusing upon the strength and resilience of the people he photographs…






The Small Town Inertia photography book by JA Mortram