Jersey Myths & Legends


‘La Cocagne’

Beware, Beware ‘La Cocagne’ little one,
Don’t be out by yourself when the nightfall comes,
Near wells, under bridges – by calm gentle streams,
He lurks in the shadows and inside your dreams.

His magic is dark and so is his heart,
One taste of his potion and this world you will part,
Though tempting, dear child you must not partake,
Listen! Heed these words for your life is at stake

This mortal world will no longer be yours,
Forever held in the grip of ‘La Cocagne’s’ claws,
Unable to return to your mother and I,
Imprisoned between worlds of the dead and alive.

Words by Danny Richardson


The Inspiration…

A few months ago I saw an article about a series of Jersey Myths & Legends stamps that had been created by local artist Nick Parlett.

There were no images with the text I read but my imagination instantly started racing with ideas and from that moment my mind was set on completing my own photographic series.

I’d been wanting to do something with a local twist that was reflective of my style of creative portraiture and conceptual imagery and this ticked so many boxes.

There were stories of dragons, witches, fairies and more – and I saw it as an opportunity to indulge the nostalgic ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ watching little boy I used to be.

One of my first steps was to research the numerous stories and reach out to other local creatives that I thought would add something to the project in terms of both their skill and their passion.

With Eva Miere onboard (a fantastic make up artist that I’d worked with on previous creative collaborations ) we arranged a meeting with the author of ‘Jersey Folklore & Superstitions Volumes 1 & 2’ – Giles de Bois – who kindly provided us with a wealth of information on the various myths and legends that enrich Jersey’s history.

The Shoot…

The first image from the second instalment of our Jersey Myths & Legends collaborative project – based on the story of ‘La Cocagne’.

Another story lacking in detail but high on creative possibilities it was another that had caught my eye when reading through Giles Bois’ Jersey Folklore & Superstitions books. Parents used to warn their children against staying out late at night by telling them tales of a dark, evil fairy that hid in wells and under bridges… using magical concoctions as a lure…

The idea of creating an evil fairy was one that really appealed – Eva Miere MUA (who has done an amazing job throughout with styling) suggested a Marilyn Manson look which was perfect. The cracked skin effect also helping create an earthy look which fit the location and the theme I was going for.

I’d shot Aran and Lauren’s wedding last year and had recently taken a few shots for their new business – The White Shell Co.. Seeing that Aran is incredibly gifted at making interesting things out of driftwood I mentioned this project to him a month or so ago… it just so happened that Aran was already working on a wing that would be ideal for ‘La Cocagne’! And not only that but he produced the awesome headpiece too.

Thanks to Patrick W Reed for being a brilliant evil fairy – He definitely raised an eyebrow or two from a few dog walkers during the shoot & somehow managed to survive semi naked in the woods for several hours whilst we applied make up, costume before then having to do the photo shoot itself.

Beware, Beware ‘La Cocagne’ little one,
Don’t be out by yourself when the nightfall comes,
Near wells, under bridges – by calm gentle streams,
He lurks in the shadows and inside your dreams


Legend has it that La Cocagne used to tempt children with magical concoctions – like a moth to a flame, the child would be drawn to the glow of the potion…

Jorja did a fantastic job looking the perfect amount of intrigued/shocked/in awe that I’d asked for… she’d been keen to get the expression right and had been practising hard since finding out she had the part… not only did she do herself proud, she also helped produce one of my favourite storytelling shots of the series so far…

His magic is dark and so is his heart,
One taste of his potion and this world you will part,
Though tempting, dear child you must not partake,
Listen! Heed these words for your life is at stake!


The final image from the second instalment of our Jersey Myths & Legends project – ‘La Cocagne’.

Unable to resist the lure of the ‘La Cocagne’s’ black magic, a child who consumed some of his potion would be trapped in the dark underworld of the fairy – never again able to return to their parents in the land of the living.

The final shot of these stories is often the most dramatic and funniest to make!

I wanted to take the image from Jorja’s perspective as ‘La Cocagne’ rose above her and consumed her, so I set up below Patrick and asked him to try a variety of ‘poses’ and expressions whilst my brother Josh, set off a couple of smoke grenades and I fired off a few shots.

The sheer size of the amazing headpiece made by Aran of The White Shell Co. meant that it wasn’t easy for Patrick to move at all so I’m pleased we managed to end up with something dynamic… and a bit freaky!

I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry when these shots inevitably breakdown into fits of laughter whilst I’m shouting things like “wider eyes!”… “more teeth”… I’m never quite sure if the shot is in the bag but unable to hold it together when I think about some of the things I’d asked Patrick, Andreia and Peter to do in order to bring this series to life… it wouldn’t have been possible without them and their bravery!

Eva Miere MUA‘s make up was once again outstanding – I love the natural, earthy, decaying feel of cracked skin effect and the way it compliments Aran’s headpiece & wings as well as the location and overall mood I was after.

This mortal world will no longer be yours,
Forever held in the grip of ‘La Cocagne’s’ claws,
Unable to return to your mother and I,
Imprisoned between worlds of the dead and alive.


Thanks to…

Jersey Arts Trust for supporting this project and to Jersey Arts Centre for accepting the work to feature in the Jersey Myths & Legends Exhibition.

The exhibition opened 10th April 2017 at The Berni Gallery and runs throughout April and into May & features an eclectic variety of work in a variety of mediums based on tales of Jersey’s supernatural past.

Thanks again to everyone who made this project possible.

The Team…

Jorja Clark – ‘child’

Patrick W Reed – ‘La Cocagne’

Eva Miere – Make Up Artist – www.evamieremua.co.uk

Aran Clark – Costume (Headpiece & Wings) – www.facebook.com/thewhiteshellco

Callum Thorne – Videography – www.facebook.com/callumthornefilmphoto

Danny Richardson – Concept & Photography – www.dannyrichardsonphotography.com/art

Josh Richardson – Assistant

Natalya De Aveiro – Behind the scenes photos

www.facebook.com/ndaphotographyy


‘La Cocagne’ Full Video…

Full length behind-the-scenes video by Callum Thorne.