Market Town . Market Town by Jim Mortram For the last 18 months together with people on or far beyond the outskirts of my local Market towns community, I have been recording through collaborative environmental portraiture, interviews and straight documentary shoots their life stories and memories. Often overlooked and unseen by the people around them or seen and judged without the care for the stories that are there to be shared and rich bonds to be forged, a strata of honest reality and remembering these are moments of daily endurance and musings that in a generation will have passed forever. David & Eugene David had been very active. Walking, cycling. Last summer the bag he was wearing over his shoulder had come loose, entangled in the front wheel of his bicycle and he had been thrown over the handlebars, face first to the road breaking his upper jaw and neck in two places. "I was choking on the blood" he told me. "In the ambulance they got a bucket and it poured out of my mouth... so much blood!... I could still see then... right up until I fell into a coma". David was taken to hospital, bones mended, wounds healed but the obstruction of a feeding and air tube in his mouth prevented his being able to alert to nurses or Doctors that his sight had vanished for almost a week after awaking from the coma he had slipped into. "One of the strangest things" he told me "Is waking up from a dream. In dreams I can still see. I can see everything. I wake... and feel I can still see for a time then the black seeps in and I realise I am awake and in darkness again, where the reality used to be filled with sight, now my dreams are. Where sleep was without light now thats my waking life. Everything is upside down. Now being awake is like the dream. My awake nightmare." Living in the dark, a life in the dark. Its hard to even know the time of day or night. We rely on sight for so many things, the morning sun, the twighlight the black of night. Waking at 2am and not knowing if it's light or dark. 10am? 2pm? Eugene.  David relies on Eugene for everything, she has become his eyes. Ed I'd first encountered Ed whilst making a story on a now defunct (Due to axed financial support) Mental Health Arts Group. First week in temporary housing. Ed. Jimmy & the Jacks Jimmy was and is a local legend. Always in the center of town, his two Jack Russell dogs Susie and Rosie in the front basket of his bicycle. Now alone aside from his dogs the last year has been one filled with cruelty and chaos for Jimmy. During the last summer he was involved in a hit and run, leaving him crippled with arthritis after the wounds and breaks knitted and stitched together. A year ago he could have been 50, now he's feeling all of his 75 years, though his mind is still sharp enough to cut. Jimmys hands, legs and shoulders are permenently in pain and it's taking longer to do everything, opening jars, bottles and the walk to the local shop that would take 5 minutes, now takes 40 but the Jacks are there by his side, there at 4am when he wakes from the aches within, there when people are not. After hospitalisation Jimmy returned to discover his home vandalised. Doors and windows smashed. His dogs close to hand, his night long and awake due to the pain. The local Doctors where Jimmy would get his wounds dressed was ultimately a place of mixed fortune for him. Though the visits there have been painful he was approached by a family recognizing him as the owner of Jack Russells and they asked him to watch over a pair of Jacks for a few weeks. The family never returned to reclaim the dogs so they have become part of Jimmys family and a part of the cycle of everyday that keeps him going.   Susie's, Jimmy's beloved Jack Russell's grave. Shaunny Outside a bar in Town, un-posed street shot and my first meeting with Shaunny. Contemplating the future. Reflecting on past mistakes, past losses and facing a new future.
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Stuart Living alone in his late parents vast house on the outskirts of town sometimes drinking the pain, the boredom, the boredom of pain away during the day and retiring back to the house at night to dream of escape... always dreaming of escape. In a town where most everyone plays normal, plays the roles there for them to play out Stuart was touchstone of originality to me. For Stuart the very things that made him a social pariah, his eccentricities, his demeanour, his drinking and his choices made him confide in me, made us friends. Stuart in a local Portuguese bar.  "I was baptised in Darwin's bathwater" he told me as we discussed the afterlife and his resolve about the natural cycle of life's twists and turns.