Photo Essay – SMALL TOWN INERTIA – Market town: David: As cold as clay

J A Mortram a documentary photographer has worked close with an individual, David. The photo essay Depicts David within his home environment, the images are intentionally black and white. David Had been blinded by and accident and had recently lost the life of his mother. The photo essay takes a personal insight into the life of David, and how he copes with the revelations that have prevailed within his living of day-to-day life.

I like the fact that the story is summarised before any images are shown, preparing the viewer for the upcoming images and giving just enough information to allow the audience to digest the images and to also create their own personal interactions with the images themselves. The story does not flow a structured flow, however the recorded and noted speech of David coincides with the images, allowing the audience to submerse themselves within the life of another for a moment.


“David in his late Mother’s bedroom, where he’s slept since her passing in late 2013.

This image starts the photographic essay. The image is simple and places us into the context of the story. The image shows the individual who we are focusing on and places us as an audience within the environment in which the photo story is taking place.

I love how the image is minimalistic, it does not confuse the viewer it focuses the story straight out of the starting docks. The caption is simplistic, simply stating what is seen within the image but also adding context. The caption does not overwhelm the viewer giving too much information as the written aspect of the photographic story further details the narrative.

I enjoy how Mortram has positioned his subject central in the image, using the corner of the room to separate the image, placing the subject central in the crease of the room. I also enjoy how the image is lit from a single window. From this the image is split into two tones of light and how the subject is dressed within black separates the individual from the surroundings with the use of contrast.


Each Image as Captioned:

David waiting for the supermarket staff to collect his order.

“David, pointing out a scar, the result of a physical assault prior to the accident that blinded him for life.”

“Leaving the house to walk into town to buy food.”

“No Caption.”


The simplicity of the captions and in some case the no need for a caption allows the viewer to draw their own views on the images and to develop and understand the narrative within their own way.

The variety of still life imagery, close-up portraiture and distant portraiture gives an insightful view into the life of the individual displayed. I did find however that some of the images used are repetitive such as the bags of shopping as he is walking home, and the images of him walking too and from the shops. The flow of the narrative does entail him to not only walk to the store but to endure the walk back, however I do not feel that this was necessary to the photographic story. I would have preferred to have seen him learning how to read brail or to have the images of his mother out, as he is no longer able to see them because of the accident.

The story is well thought out and flows well, the use of text along with the images allows the images to flow and the decision to include or not include a caption on the images allows the viewer to imply their own initiative and understanding onto the photographic essay.

Each image has been taken within the same style and flows from one to the other using only natural lighting and holding a gritty aspect, within the sharp imagery.

Market Town : David : As cold as clay





2 thoughts on “Photo Essay – SMALL TOWN INERTIA – Market town: David: As cold as clay

  1. Nice write up. I’d have loved it if you’d asked first, for permission to share.

    FYI no documentation of David reading braille, as is accounted in other entries of this long form story and thus part of the wider and longer narrative (Think of each blog entry as a chapter of a book), is documented as David is unable to, nor intends to learn, braille.


    1. Thank you for the response, I will contact you in regards to sharing your work next time. I was unaware of the documentation of the reading of brail, I will look into this in my own personal time. Many thanks for the comment.


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