A photography project pushing for change

Small Town Inertia

Went to see Small Town Inertia this weekend, a photography exhibition by Jim Mortram. A must see at the Side Gallery in Newcastle:

“For over eight years J A Mortram has been photographing the lives of people in his home community of Dereham, a small town in Norfolk. His photography explores the everyday lives of people struggling to survive in an era of welfare cuts, diminished local government resources and an overburdened health sector. Jim’s work covers challenging subjects such as physical and mental health, isolation, addiction and self-harm, but is done so with compassion, understanding and friendship. Published as a book in 2017, Small Town Inertiais a firm rebuttal of the cheap political rhetoric, ‘we are all in this together’.”

It was a powerful and moving set of stories, based on people Jim got to know closely, building up trust so he could share their stories and injustice. As divides continue to grow, it is more important than ever to see work such as this, to remind us that many communities are on the front line of austerity. 

We all have the right to fairness, respect and basic human rights such as warmth and food. So why the growing divide? And why is this a problem for such a forward moving country and society? We are dealing with austerity, cuts to the weakest over the strongest, social isolation, and social judgement of others. People do not always chose to live how they live. But sometimes, we have no choice. 

Jimmy and Lady, J A Mortram

Each set of images had an accompanying story, which made it even more powerful. It was an emotionally fuelled exhibit, through each story and injustice. It is a painful reminder of the devastation caused by austerity and social isolation. We can all get distracted and comfortable in our own lives, through work, home, family, which I’m sure many of us are thankful for daily. But we must remember others. The exhibition gave reflection on society, reflection on my our own contributions and how we can do more. We need more Jim’s in the world! Telling much needed stories to push for change.

From this, we pledge to always be open minded, have empathy, listen to others stories and empower positive change where we can.

It reminded us why Sail focus on work with positive social impact. We continue to work with communities and audiences to grow brands: collecting stories, empathy and connection to build movements. We pledge to continue this journey, building brands around stories and empathy, building brands with meaning at their root. We pledge to design with integrity, with audiences in mind to grow movements and followers, which collectively, will impact change. Brands cannot change the world, but they can contribute small influences by building emotional connection and sending out authentic messages and stories with meaning. That is a brands duty.