An unspoken contract

‘For me It’s an inquiry into an aspect of life that I don’t know about [that] I’m curious about it. I’m interested in looking at my own prejudices – that’s why it’s about yourself in a way.  But it’s also attempting to reflect and record on behalf of a culture something which is important to them and accurate for them, so that a dialogue can take place. What that  means, really, is that you have to engage with those communities or those individuals and say things about their lives which you believe to be accurate and ultimately they believe to be accurate, however difficult those statements are. At the end of the day the success or failure of a piece of work by Amber is the community you make it about looks at it and says “That’s right”.’

Murray Martin worked in NE England from 1969 until his death in 2007, making films with and about working people. A founder member of Amber Film and Photography Collective he did much to establish the group’s principles and working methods. These words – slightly edited here for ease of reading – are taken from an interview he gave in 2004, parts of which feature in The Pursuit of Happiness, a film made by Amber to celebrate Martin’s life, work and values.