This film is part of Rentals

Tish 15 rating

An essential portrait of a major photographer whose work provides a key record of lives lived on the margins of 1980s Britain.

Documentary 2023 90 mins

Director: Paul Sng



Paul Sng, the BIFA-winning director of Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché and Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle, crafts an intimate portrait of Tish Murtha, a working-class photographer from the North East, whose work demands to be rediscovered and rightly recognised. Tish Murtha used documentary photography to capture and embrace her surroundings, and the people who occupied them. It ranged from the Newcastle working class community she grew up in to Soho sex workers in 1980s London. Despite receiving early acclaim for her work, she struggled to make a living from her talent.

In Paul Sng’s documentary, Tish’s daughter Ella opens up her mother’s archive and traces her life through previously unseen images, artefacts, letters and diaries, along with conversations with those who knew her. Narration from Maxine Peake brings Tish’s own words to life in this fitting tribute to an artist whose photography feels more vital than ever – a rallying cry against austerity Britain. Tish was made with the support of the BFI Doc Society Fund, awarding National Lottery funding.