Caught by the River

Essex Chronicles

21st August 2018

We recently included Mark Massey’s Essex Chronicles newspaper in a roundup of good, Essex-based things we’d stumbled across. However, upon receiving a copy via snail mail, we decided it was just too darned lovely not to give it its own post, with a little more space to breathe.

Mark is a documentary, portrait and sometimes street photographer who lives in Southend. He told us a bit more about the birth of Essex Chronicles, via email:

‘I grew up by the Thames estuary and the seaside at Southend, but like a lot of kids I didn’t think too much about my hometown and surroundings – it’s just somewhere we take for granted. Now I’m older, though, I can appreciate it more and that’s one of the reasons I decided to document the Essex side of the estuary. It’s one of the country’s largest inlets and a major shipping route in and out of London. I’m fascinated by the complete mix of leisure, industry and habitation that exist side-by-side along the coast, all interacting in some way with the natural environment. The project covers the whole length of that coastline, all the way from Foulness Island in the east, to the area around the QEII Bridge and Purfleet in the west. I’ve focused on life alongside the water, but one day in the future I’d like to document it from the perspective of life on the water.

I approached the project by spending short periods of time at various locations, just observing the interaction between people and the environment, as well as longer day walks along other stretches. It was also important to me to include portraits of people – I’m a naturally shy person so it was good to get out of my comfort zone.

Recently I put together an edit of the images and published them in tabloid newsprint format . I’m a magazine designer by trade, and I’ve always liked newsprint as an accessible medium, so it was an obvious choice.’

Essex Chronicles is available to purchase here (£5 + postage).

Follow Mark on Twitter/Instagram.