“It’s the hardest group of people I have ever tried to integrate with in order to shoot,” says photographer Bronia Stewart. “I spent a lot of time visiting the clubs and meeting people before they agreed to be shot and understood what I was trying to capture.” Bronia’s recces to Brentwood in Essex began early 2014, her motivation was to find out the impact reality TV, and specifically Towie, is having on young women. The photos capture the fashion, attitudes and drama she feels have been influenced by the long-running constructed reality show.
The storylines presented on the TV show are scripted and orchestrated by a team of writers, directors and producers. “I spent so much time there I even ended up as an extra in one episode,” Bronia’s photographs depict how this has been reflected not just in material possessions and fashions, but in people’s behaviour. “The dream that TOWIE has created is something people aspire to,” says the photographer. “The stereotype of the girl that the show has made – false lashes, hair extensions and all that- is something that has become familiar.”
We featured Bronia’s photoessay on Babestation in 2013. She feels that this project taps into a similar theme. “I want to capture things that I feel might not be around for long,” she says. “When I shot Babestation they were based in a town house in central London, and now they are in a tiny studio in Milton Keynes. I’m not even sure it’s on Freeview anymore. I feel that in a year or so that TOWIE will come to an end, this is an attempt to document a moment in a similar way.”