All posts tagged: Lucy Sparks

The Joy of Essex: Lucy Sparks’ unusual images of Britain’s most stereotyped county

Returning to Theydon Bois on the outer borders of London after a four-year stay in Berlin, Lucy Sparks embarked on a project about her birthplace. “I felt it was the perfect time to explore what I perceived as an Essex renaissance,” says the 31 year old. “The stereotype has been enjoying a revival, thanks in part to cult reality TV show The Only Way is Essex. A stereotypically Essex lifestyle has become even more decadent since the 1980s and early 1990s, so I wanted to investigate this.” Essexland, which Sparks made into a book for her photojournalism and documentary photography master’s course at London College of Communication, looks at the county as “an aesthetic phenomenon”. “I didn’t want to avoid the stereotypes; the project definitely reiterates many of them,” she says. “The images play on a sense of hyper-reality. The new story Essex has been telling about itself is loud, brash and in HD. Of course it’s an unsettling characterisation for some as not everyone in the county fits such a generalisation. But I hope the work …


BJP Staff