My mam was incredible. Determined, kind, funny, and fierce, but also very sensitive. She had to learn to be tough from a young age; she was very disciplined and would always stand up to bullies, but she was just happy as long as I was happy; she had her music, her camera, and could afford some film and tabs. It was just the two of us, Tish and Ella; we were a team. 

Copyright ©​ Ella Murtha. All rights reserved.

She was so talented, but died penniless, too afraid to turn the heating on. I found her on Mother's Day 2013, wearing a woolly hat inside the flat, in the middle of having her brain aneurysm, and she was so cold the paramedics thought she had hypothermia. It broke my heart that that was what her life was reduced to, which is why I took her boxes of treasures and made sure the world knew how special she was. So her life wasn't just a waste, and those stories she captured so lovingly wouldn't be forgotten. They are now part of the permanent collections of Tate Britain, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Museum of London.

I'm working hard to keep Tish’s legacy of love, respect, and hope going by working with people I know and trust to celebrate her work in an authentic way that also maintains her integrity. The very last thing I can do for her as her daughter. I hope that by doing this, I am in some way making up for the sacrifices that my mam made for me and that I can make her proud.

I grew up with her pictures as our wallpaper and was often in the darkroom with her as a child. She would explain what she was doing, letting me help, and it felt so magical watching these black-and-white images appear that we had made together. She was in her element in the darkroom, listening to her favourite music; she really loved the whole process, and I'm so happy that I got to share that with her. I know how important photography was to her, which is why I feel compelled to continue sharing her work.