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Courtesy of 

Charlotte C Mortensson

Faces of Humanity Single

Charlotte C Mortensson

Highly Commended

Charlotte C Mortensson is a Swedish documentary photographer based in London and Trench Town Jamaica.

For more than a decade her work has focused on recording the social housing in Trench Town, Jamaica. She works closely with local historians and residents. The expanding project encompasses a growing collection of photographs of friends and acquaintances she has made while documenting the architectural landscape.

Her portraits look beyond the cliches and assumptions about ghetto machismo and lawlessness. These are residents who cherish their community but have been injured, emotionally and physically, by Trench Town’s inter related problems of gun crime and poverty. Each individual has found their own way of coping with trauma - through their spiritual beliefs, their family, political and social campaigning, through music - and is looking to a more nurturing future for their community. Hence the title of this ongoing series, ‘See the morning sun’. The words are from Bob Marley’s song, ‘Soul Rebel’ (1970).

Charlotte C Mortensson’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the UK, including the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield, the Royal Academy in London, and the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. Her photographs have also been shown in Switzerland and at the University of the West Indies in Kingston Jamaica. The portraits and architectural photographs have been exhibited in Trench Town where, of course, these images originated.

See the morning sun

Trench Town, Jamaica

2020 - 2022

I’ve been working in Trench Town, Jamaica, for over a decade. As I’ve got to know the residents I’ve become ever more aware of the physical and emotional injuries caused by Trench Town’s sporadic episodes of political violence. (The ‘wars’ are because of Trench Town’s geographical location, which is on the front line between the two main political parties.) I’ve noted that injuries and deaths are seldom spoken about. Instead, people live in the present, looking to a better future.

The Rastafarian faith/lifestyle/philosophy is an important part of healing for many.

The lives of the people in my submitted images have all been invaded by violence - Stingy (in the photograph called Baby Father) is concerned for his own and the neighbourhood’s children; Nature was shot as a teenager. He recovered and is now a human rights activist; Bawley lost the use of his legs in a shooting; Dada has found it difficult to find work because of his Trench Town address; Oliver Deliver, a performer and session musician, seeks to uplift the community with music and his gentle ‘reasoning’.

The title of this ongoing series - See the morning sun - is a phrase from Bob Marley’s hopeful song, Soul Rebel.

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