Inspirational Photographers

Whitehaven Harbour 1986

Inspirational Photographers – Tish Murtha.

Something that caught my attention on Thursday night’s regional news, an interview with Ella Murtha about her mam. Who? Tish Murtha, an inspirational photographer. Following the program I checked out her website and loved what I saw.

Friday’s Photography Course

Tish Murtha’s photography became a talking point on Friday’s photography course.


During our leisure time the majority of photographers are out there capturing the nice scenery, the occasional selfie, that lovely sunset, the dog doing something funny etc. Some will look good printed out and hung on the wall. Who doesn’t like Wastwater, “Britain’s favourite View”?

Back in the day

Back in the day Tish Murtha was photographing the other end of the spectrum. The day to day, the normal, the kids playing out, knocking about with their mates. Working class people, many on the dole, the unemployed. The forgotten. Proper gritty urban life.

Simply Extraordinary

At the time Tish’s pictures were of the ordinary. Looking back at them in 2021 the pictures are simply extraordinary. Hard to believe that life was really like that for some people. On the opposite coast around Whitehaven I can remember the abandoned cars that we used to play in. I remember the derelict buildings we used to explore when we were down in the town. I don’t remember jumping out of second floor windows onto mattresses but I was maybe a bit too young!


The inspiration to photographers is this: there is a sunrise and sunset every day, some worth photographing. The Tish Murtha’s of today are wondering round the streets, old factories & derelict buildings photographing “the ordinary places & the ordinary people”. These ordinary pictures will be the pictures that we marvel at in years to come. Perhaps the powerful force is the nostalgia, the memories and the thoughts that they provoke?

Ella Murtha

Ella, Tish’s daughter, has made it her mission to get her mam’s work the recognition it deserves. Looking for inspiration? Here’s the link to the official website of Tish Murtha :

Still not got it?

Still not got it? Remember Whitehaven’s harbour dredger in the 70’s, Marchon Works in the 80’s, Hensingham Infants School in the 90’s, more recently East Road Garage in Egremont. The list of photographic opportunities keeps rolling on by. As the saying goes, when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Whitehaven Harbour

Whitehaven Harbour 1986

The date was 26th January 1986 on Whitehaven harbour. Fishing boats coming back in full of fish. No time to spare, start unloading. A few local lads standing around watching. Notice some of the fashion, black & white candy stripe mod jacket. A moment in time, a snapshot of the ‘ordinary’.

Whitehaven Harbour 1986