Tag Archives: New York

The era-defining legacy of Tish Murtha.

Patricia ‘Tish’ Murtha is another photographer I’ve been wanting to write a post about for quite some time. And, like my previous post about Saul Leiter’s early work in New York, Tish Murtha captured the essence of working class Northern England during the late 70s and 80s under Thatcher.


Tish Murtha 14/3/1956 – 13/3/2013. © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

Unlike Leiter, Murtha’s work focuses predominantly on the socially deprived. One of the reasons I love her work so much is that I can empathise with a lot of the shots. I can see myself in them as a kid growing up in Batley in the 60s and 70s.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

Her images also remind me of the early social documentary work of legends like Bill Brandt and Don McCullin. The sort of work we don’t see enough of. That’s because people don’t like to look at it. Because it tells us the truth about the society in which we live.

Local Boys in Bradford 1972

Don McCullin


Bill Brandt

One of the things a great photographer does is make the viewer ask questions. Like, who are they? What are they doing now? In this case, who started the fire? Did they start it? Why are they unconcerned? What are they looking at?

Tish Murtha doesn’t just capture images of the economically deprived in our society, she captures joy and despair. Fear and determination. Hope and uncertainty. Perhaps most importantly – love and kinship.



Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.


Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

Tish Murtha would have been have been 64 next month. Sadly, she died at the tender age of 56 in 2013 of a sudden brain aneurysm.

The legacy of Tish Murtha is carried on by her daughter Ella who has kindly given me permission to publisher her mother’s work, and to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.

Ella posthumously published collections of her mum’s work in the books Youth Unemployment and Elswick Kids which you can find here.

You can also get exhibition prints here.

I could continue this post with Tish Murtha’s work for as many Google pages there are showing it. But that would leave you with nothing to do. To find out more about her era-defining work – and how she saved the lives of four women through organ donation – why not explore her life and work here.

Happy birthday Tish.


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Bonjour 2020!

I thought I’d begin 2020 as I ended 2019 – writing in French!

Why? I have no idea.

Plus, it’s a tad late for New Year salutations.

I’ve wanted to write a post about Saul Leiter for many a moon.

Why? I have no idea.

Wait, I do. Because I love his work, that’s why. And I thought it only right and proper I shared the love.

I am intrigued by his voyeuristic style. Apart from Leiter being a pioneer of early colour photography, he managed to capture slices of the Big Apple’s social and cultural life in 1940s and 50s America. I think the compositions are very cinematic and each character could inspire a short story.

He said his early influences were the Impressionists Degas, Bonnard and Vuillard. But I’d venture to chuck Toulouse-Lautrec into the pot as well.

And he wasn’t just a dab hand at photography. He was pretty good at dabbing with a paint brush too. (Quite a few of his paintings are over-painted photographs.)

I’m not going to blather on giving you his life story, you can do that here. I just want to show you some pretty pictures. So, here you go…






















Filed under Advertising, Art, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, History, Illustration, Innovation, Inspiration, Photography, Uncategorized

I [heart] America

There’s been a lot of hullabaloo this past couple of years because of the Cheeto-in-Chief of the good ol’ U S of A.

What with cosying up to dictators and alienating allies he certainly cuts a divisive figure. Unfortunately, this has had a backlash against America in general and its people.

So, to redress the balance, I wanted to write a positive post about some of the things I love about America. After all, one Mango-Mussolini shouldn’t taint the whole country.

In no particular order…


From Elvis Presley to Tom Waits to the Talking Heads. Who could argue that America has produced some of the greatest artists and genres the world has ever seen. Who are your favourites?




Next up, MOVIES.

When we think of American movies we tend to think of Hollywood blockbusters. But there are so many unbelievable directors and actors. Here are some of my favourites, who are yours?





As I have a penchant for the Arts, I’m going to pick out a few photographers who have inspired me over the years.



Marilyn Monroe by Eve Arnold


Gloria Swanson by Edward Steichen


Vivian Maier


Ansel Adams


Cindy Sherman


Saul Leiter

Understandably, most people couldn’t give a rat’s ass about advertising. But I do, because I worked in it for 30 years. When Doyle, Dane, Bernbach set up shop in the 1960s they revolutionised advertising. They focussed on simple product truths. Their ethos/philosophy permeated continents and generations. Still does. I had the privilege of working for DDB Dublin.



Leading on from advertising we have GRAPHIC DESIGN, and this iconic classic by Milton Glaser for the New York tourist board. which has been ‘parodied’ a trillion times. (Yes, including me.)


Milton Glaser

Next up, ARTISTS. Again, a multitude to pick from. Here are a couple of my faves.


Jean Michel Basquiat


Edward Hopper


Mary Cassatt

Moving on to something non art related – LANDSCAPE. America has such a diverse landscape, from snow-capped mountains to sun-scorched deserts.




I’ve always loved CLASSIC CARS, Mercedes, Jaguar, Citroen, Volvo. But I also love American cars for their sheer ostentatiousness.





I couldn’t write a post about America without including a few WRITERS. Too many to choose from. Here are a few of my heroes who have inspired me over the years. Recommendations anyone?






What else do I love about America? I really like their ARCHITECTURE. Whether it be a monumental skyscaper or the traditional colonial white-picket-fence style complete with veranda.




You won’t get very far in the States without some top-notch tucker. What is more quintessentially American than the humble DINER?


Who says Americans don’t get irony? They make some fantastic COMEDY and have some wonderful comedians. Obviously, you’re not as funny as us Brits. But you’re getting the hang of it. (Benny Hill.)





There you have it. Have I forgotten anything, anyone? What would you have included?

Obviously, there is one other thing I would like to give credit to. And that is the American people. (Well, only those that didn’t vote Trump.) You’re an innovative and inspiring bunch. Not only that, you saved our asses in two world wars! So, cheers for that.

My, (our), world would be a lot poorer without you.



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Inside the world of Love is Blood

Grasse, where Severine and Harry meet.

Grasse, where Severine and Harry meet.

One of the wonderful things about reading a good book is imagining the world that the author has created. I suspect every individual would visualise slightly different characters and the world in which they inhabit. Hopefully, mine is no different.

Whilst Love is Blood is not autobiographical, I have visited all of the locations featured in the novel. This obviously helps when trying to describe the settings in which the leading characters play out their story.

The characters themselves are not real people. They are amalgams of people I have met, invented or seen in movies. Their personalities are defined by the plot of the story. For example, both Harry and Dominic need to be creative, hopeless romantics and spontaneous, otherwise the story wouldn’t progress very far.

The three leading female characters are all strong, determined women. Severine is probably the most independent and decisive. Roísín starts out life being strong-willed and flamboyant, but, in later years, becomes slightly kooky. Sylvia, meanwhile, is the quietly sensitive type, noble and reflective.

Here are a few images that served as inspiration for the story. And, if they were all in their prime now, some actors/personalities I could imagine playing the lead roles.

If you haven’t read it yet, I’d appreciate your help in getting me up the Amazon chart. You can get a copy of it here: Love is Blood.

Love is blood, love story, David Milligan-Croft, romance

Liz Taylor as Severine?

Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft,

Liz Taylor

Love is blood, love story, David Milligan-Croft, romance

Cary Grant as Harry?

Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft

Audrey Hepburn as Sylvia?

Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft,

Or Emily Blunt as Sylvia?

Love is Blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft

Lloyd Cole as Dominic?

Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft,

Gina McKee as Roísín?

Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft,

Dominic’s Sunbeam Tiger.


Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft,

Severine’s Citroën Pallas DS.


Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft,

Saint Paul de Vence, Cote d’Azur.

Love is blood, love story, romance, David Milligan-Croft,

Sartene, Corsica.

Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft,

Cargese, Corsica.

Love is Blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft,

Irish Museum of Modern Art where Dominic works.

Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft,

Harry’s toy workshop?

Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft

Sylvia’s sketchbooks.

Love is Blood, love story, romance, David Milligan-Croft,

Severine’s villa in Grasse, Cote d’Azur.

Love is Blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft,

Modigliani – inspiration for “Clatto”.

Picasso's 'art on paper' - Dominic's mission.

Picasso’s ‘art on paper’ – Dominic’s mission.

Love is blood, romance, love story, David Milligan-Croft.

The Empire State Building, New York.

love is blood, love story, romance, incest, David Milligan-Croft,

Help me make it Number 1!


Filed under Art, Books, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Ideas, Inspiration, Literature, Poetry, Writing

My debut novel: Love is Blood – out now on Amazon.

Hi everyone,

Well, my debut novel, Love is Blood, is now available on Amazon.

Love is Blood is a romantic novel about how one cataclysmic act of terrorism causes a chain reaction changing the course of history. It’s about how fate conspires to bring two lovers together from different backgrounds, countries and continents who, unbeknownst to them, may share the same father.

The story alternates chapter by chapter between 1969 and the year 2000.

In the year 2000, Dominic Grant meets Sylvia de la Fouchon by chance when a terrorist bomb at Charles de Gaulle airport causes traffic control mayhem around France. If it weren’t for a Corsican terrorist, seeking revenge for the death of his fiance, Dominic would have caught an earlier flight, never having met Sylvia.

The pair embark on a passionate affair, but as their story unfolds we begin to suspect that the couple may have more in common than they realise. Both Sylvia and Dominic never knew their fathers and, as they learn more about each other, we are faced with the terrifying prospect that the two lovers are possibly half-brother and sister and may have committed incest.

Intertwined with their relationship; set in 1969, we follow the clandestine life of toy designer, Harry Grant. He has a troubled relationship at home in Dublin and a mistress in the South of France. Harry ultimately agrees to elope to America with his enigmatic and seductive French mistress. He leaves his pregnant wife in Dublin, but will his mistress turn up at the top of the Empire State Building? Or will Harry be left to build a new life in New York alone?

The novel shows how events beyond human control overlap to shape the key protagonists’ destiny. Ultimately coming full circle, when the Corsican terrorist, whose actions brought Sylvia and Dominic together, is the one Sylvia confides in for advice. She goes to visit him in prison to discuss why he did what he did, and the consequences it had, not just for them, but for everyone.

Love is Blood is not just two passionate, intertwining love stories, but a cosmic journey about how interrelated everything and everyone in the universe actually is.

Obviously, I’d be extremely happy if you popped along to Amazon and purchased a copy of it. (Just click on the links above or the cover image.) But, if it’s not your thing, any extra publicity about it by sharing would be greatly appreciated.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle device. You can download the Kindle App directly onto your Mac or PC.

To download Kindle for PC click here.

To download Kindle for Mac click here.

Love is Blood, David Milligan-Croft, writer,

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