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Juvenile Jazz Bands photobook published

Find out more about the latest photobook from the Tish Murtha Archive – Juvenile Jazz Bands.

The front cover of Juvenile Jazz Bands
Juvenile Jazz Bands (1979) by Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, all rights reserved

Juvenile Jazz Bands, a new photobook by Bluecoat Press and the Tish Murtha Archive, is now available to buy.

A Kickstarter campaign earlier this year helped fund the publication.

Spectrum Photographic produced limited edition prints for the book – 10 Giclée prints at 12 x 16” on Ilford Prestige Smooth Pearl 310gsm.

The new photobook Juvenile Jazz Bands
© Ella Murtha, all rights reserved

Celebrating individuality

The new photobook is published in the same limited-edition hardback format as Youth Unemployment and Elswick Kids.

Although it is the third book of her work, the series was Murtha’s first exhibition.

The body of work debuted at The Side Gallery, Newcastle, in 1979 before touring.

Juvenile jazz bands were a type of children’s marching band that started in the 20th century.

Those running the bands initially backed Murtha’s project believing the photographs would be glamorous.

However, she felt the bands were militaristic and harmful to young members, crushing out normal childlike behaviour alongside any spark of individuality.

When she saw the band rejects playing in the streets, something resonated with her.

She decided to shoot the bands in their finery alongside the kids from the back streets who were imitating them.

Her photos highlighted the individuality of the kids instead of the forced conformity of the band culture.

The jazz band committees were furious when they saw the finished series together with her comments, writing letters to the local press labelling her ‘The Demon Snapper’.

A page from Juvenile Jazz Bands
© Ella Murtha, all rights reserved

Order Juvenile Jazz Bands

The new book is available to order at Bluecoat Press.

Email to find out more about Spectrum’s editions for books service.

All images: Juvenile Jazz Bands (1979) by Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, all rights reserved