I’m a writer and photographer. I’ve written for over 40 national and international newspapers and magazines (you can see a list of those, plus more information here). My images have been published in quite a few as well. With photography, I work mainly in editorial, documentary and portrait genres. Some of my projects have been exhibited, others published as books. More recently I have been displaying them as performance art – where photographic images are shown to a live audience while I perform to varying degrees of intensity. I’m not a performer – but am driven to bring photography as an art form to new and diverse audiences. So I use performance, video, spoken word, singing (yes singing) and music to produce a new and unique kind of photography exhibition. These diverse performances are quite good. Very unusual. Memorable. There’s a list of them here.
Also, increasingly I have used video as a platform for new work, either as a way to deliver photography projects or as standalone pieces of work.
In addition to all that arty stuff, I also do more conventional presentations on writing, social media and photography. I even wrote a book called Seriously Good Photography Tips for Camera Phones.
Some of my best work has been developed through commissions. So keep me in mind…
Here (below) is my CV detailing my photography career:
2020 (May): Produced outdoor exhibition You, Me and Cold War Steve in Preston, Lancashire, during lockdown. The exhibition, the UK’s first outdoor exhibition after lockdown, was displayed in the windows of The Larder to allow audience engagement during the nationwide closure of museums and galleries.
2020 (Jan): Performed Worn at Art-Culiar (Northern Quarter, Huddersfield).
2019 (Aug): Worked with Blackpool’s Streetlife homeless charity to deliver engagement workshops with young homeless people where they expressed themselves through words and image-making. This continuing project was hugely successful for the charity, who stated that participants had engaged with the centre in a way not seen before.
2019 (May): Festival director of Lancashire Fringe Festival, bringing internationally-acclaimed performers to Preston. Leading contemporary performers booked for the festival included Louise Orwin (Oh Yes Oh No), Joana Nasatri (F*ck You Pay Me), Bob Karper (Oh! Suburbia!) and Katie O’Brien (Catch 22 Years). This Arts Council-funded festival includes community engagement work, with pre-festival shows at community venues and work with community to leaders to encourage those who do not experience live performance to see a show. All shows were free.
2018-2019: Associate Artist working on Fevered Sleep’s year-long art-based engagement project at Clifton Green Primary School, York. This Wellcome Trust-funded project included workshops and facilitation sessions with pupils, parents and teachers at the school.
2018 (Sept): Devised, organised, promoted, recruited participants and compered a short story slam at the Harris as part of the Lancashire Encounter Festival.
2018 (Aug): Exhibited The Village Nativity, images from Kettlewell’s community nativity play, at St Mary’s Church, Kettlewell, part of Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival.
2018 (July): Documented Model Village! an installation by artist Emily Speed based at Story Homes’ Waterside housing development site in Cottam, Preston, part of In Certain Places’ (University of Central Lancashire) The Expanded City Project.
2018 (May-present): Curated and produced a series of one-off performance nights in Preston (www.enjoyshow.co.uk). Artists include poets Hollie McNish, Mike Garry, Harry Baker, Louise Fazackerley, JB Barrington and Jess Green, and performers Jenny May Morgan (Pamela DeMenthe presents: Sticky Digits), Timberlina (Tim Redfern), Ruth E Cockburn (Love Letters From Blackpool) and Damien Warren-Smith’s Garry Starr Performs Everything. Working closely with artists, venue owners and local organisations. Promotion includes poster design, writing press releases, securing radio and print coverage. Also booked and managed tours for shows Women Who W*nk (Joanne Tremarco) and Blackpool, What A Sh*t Place To Die (Mark Newsome). Feedback: “You’re the best promoter I’ve ever worked with”, “Garry Cook was a spectacular events organiser… highly recommend anyone to work alongside or with him.”
2018 (May-June): Filmed artist Buzz Bury’s Arrival!, a LeftCoast-funded project working with international volunteers from Blackpool homeless charity Streetlife, exploring their first impressions of the resort. Practical workshops delivered words and phrases which were written into the sand at Blackpool beach during a day-long installation. Filmed workshops, produced time-lapse video and worked with Civic Drone (University of Central Lancashire) to produce drone film footage of beach installation.
2018 (May): Documented Art Zoo at Harris Museum & Art Gallery, photographing five artists – including 2017 Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid – engaging in their practice while guided tours allowed the public to watch them working.
2018 (May): Held practical workshop at Harris Museum & Art Gallery for Preston’s College photography students based around the theme of place – directly referencing the theme of Lubaina Himid’s Hard Times exhibition in the museum.
2018 (Apr-July): Filmed SpareParts performance arts festival in Sandbach (April) Crewe and Fleetwood (both July), produced short films of each event.
2018 (Mar): Performed multi-media video installation Garry Cook’s The Meaning of Life, a work-in-progress piece commissioned by Derelict for developmental performance art event Derelict Live.
2018 (Mar): Documented durational art installation Surviving Remnants, an improvised ekphrastic duet and dialogue between moving body and visual art by artists Katie Harling and Claire Doyle at University of Huddersfield.
2018 (Feb): Documented artist Frances Kay’s installation performance Little Red, Byram Arcade, Huddersfield.
2018 (Feb-May): Exhibited images at Harris Museum & Art Gallery, part of the Preston’s Courtauld’s Connection exhibition, responding to Eugene Boudin’s 1893 painting Deauville.
2017 (Aug): Exhibited The Christening, images of an Easter Sunday sunrise christening in the River Skifare, Yorkshire Dales, at St Mary’s Church, Kettlewell, part of Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival.
2017 (Apr): Documented The Birley Residency at The Harris Museum & Art Gallery.
2017 (Mar-Oct): Documented University of Huddersfield and the Arts and Humanities Research Council project Judaica, producing a documentary film of the song-based project.
2017 (Mar-June): Filmed rehearsals and performance of The Bass Ensemble, a dance/music performance. Also filmed sound installation Imponderable Sound Three: Reflections as part of the project. Produced a 30-minute documentary for the project.
2017 (Feb): Performed Worn at Act-Formance (Blue Rooms, Byram Arcade, Huddersfield).
2016 (Oct): Produced a six-minute video for Preston City Council about the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, used as part of its bid for Heritage Lottery funding. The video mixes video footage with stills imagery, edited to a pop-music soundtrack.
2016 (Sept): Devised, organised, promoted, recruited participants and compered a short story slam at Preston Guild Hall as part of the Lancashire Encounter Festival.
2016 (July): Directed and launched Lancashire Fringe Festival, held over two nights at Ham & Jam in Preston and featuring several nationally-renowned performance artists including Juliette Burton (Decision Time), Joanne Tremarco (Women Who Wank) and Frances Kay (Sorry).
2016 (July): Produced time-lapse video of pattern artist Bonnie Craig’s work When Is A Star A Star?, a project where the artist collaborated with University of Central Lancashire astrophysicist Professor Derek Ward-Thompson to produce a series of visual interpretations of statistical data.
2016 (May): Performed Outsiders at Manchester Salon NUJ event
2016 (Apr-June): Held a series of Northern Lights Specialist Workshops in photography, blogging and social media at Media Factory, UCLan for the Northern Lights business incubation unit. The workshops were repeated in the autumn of 2016.
2016 (April): Photographed contemporary performance festival Derelict Spring, producing a pop video of the documentary images, mixed with video recordings of the artists involved.
2016 (May): Performed Worn, a photography-based theatre performance exploring the hidden world of selling used clothing on eBay. Included verbatim quotes read by three performers (at Lumos, Media Factory, UCLan).
2015 (Oct-Nov): Commissioned by Fuel Theatre (supported by They Eat Culture) to produce 10 minute performance piece for the New Theatre In Your Neighbourhood research project, mentored by writer/director Andy Smith. Live art piece Northern World performed at New Continental (Preston) and Media Factory (University of Central Lancashire).
2015 (Oct): Performed Outsiders and Pub Karaoke Photography Exhibition at Fieldwork Photography Forum 2015 at Media factory, University of Central Lancashire, Preston.
2015 (Oct): Performed Pub Karaoke Photography Exhibition at Drunken Chorus event Drunken Nights IV at Devonshire Cat, Sheffield.
2015 (Oct) Performed Outsiders at Unknown Identity at Nexus Art Cafe, Manchester.
2015 (Aug): Performed Photographing Fags, Freaks and Fighting at Preston Tringe festival.
2015 (June): Launched the world’s first Twitter photography exhibition, gaining huge audience engagement for documentary photography photos. Project ranged from Gateshead Car Park to the West Bank.
2015 (May): Performed Central Lancashire Homesick Blues at Cultural Collectives performance festival (New Continental, Preston).
2015 (May): Performed photography project Outsiders as a live-art presentation during Liverpool International Photography Festival (Look15) at Bluecoat. Also performed at Live Wire (53 Degrees, University of Central Lancashire).
2015 (May): Exhibited at pop-up joint-photography exhibition at Anchor Coffee, Manchester.
2015 (May): Exhibited at Women in the City outdoor joint-exhibition at Liverpool One, part of Liverpool International Photography Festival (Look15).
2015 (Jan): Published book Seriously Good Photography Tips For Camera Phones.
2014: Published books Stay At Home Dads Are Not Welcome Here and God, Have You Ever Been to Wigan?
2014: Published travel guide book FREE Days Out in Lancashire* (*and the surrounding areas) detailing over 20 days out in the county with maps, photos and parking advice.
2013: Published travel/political book Palestiniana – examining the conflict between Israel and Palestine, depicted through my journey across the West Bank. The book reached No.1 in the Amazon sales charts for travel books in Israel. Book features full-colour documentary photography images.
2012 (Sept): Published children’s story book Albert the Pug and the Haunted Castle.
2012 (June): Published book Outsiders, a series of interview and portrait photographs of unique, unusual and misunderstood people. The project covers issues as diverse as sex, war, deviation, racism, religion and train spotting.
2012 (June): Published book Marlboro Nights, documenting ban on smoking in public in England in 2007. Marlboro Nights exhibited at The Continental, Preston.
2011 (Nov): Published children’s story book Albert the Pug and the Thief Dog.
2012 (Oct)-2015 (Nov): Freelance sub-editing at BBC Sport Online at Media City, Salford, producing web content for Europe’s biggest sport website. Work included SEO in headlines, text and images, sourcing of images and video, plus liaising with writers, producers, management and other departments, including news. Role include publishing breaking news within seconds of happening, frequent updating content, moderating live updates, moderating readers comments.
2011 (Sept): Women and Alcohol exhibited at Oxford House, Bethnal Green, for Photomonth2011: East London Photography Festival.
2011 (Sept): Images used as part of University of Northampton’s report The EDL: Britain’s “New far Right” Social Movement, presented at the Populist Racism in Britain and Europe since 1945 conference.
2011 (Sept): Images from the Bespoke Project shown at the V&A in London as part of the London Design Festival.
2011 (Sept): Published documentary photography book 6×9.
2011 (Aug): Brilliant Blackpool exhibited at FYCreatives, Blackpool.
2011 (May/June): Women and Alcohol exhibited at Baltic Warehouse for Look2011: Liverpool International Photography Festival. Collaborative project with Redeye, The Photography Network.
2011: Began work on a seven-year project documenting a class of 30 pupils at Penwortham County Primary School in Lancashire. Work is produced as a yearly magazine.
2011-2013: Interactive Newsprint, worked together with people in communities from Preston and beyond to experiment with a brand new technology called interactive paper. Researchers from UCLan, Dundee and Surrey universities trialled interactive paper. My images were the first in the world to be printed with conductive ink, where printed electronic circuitry was printed onto to paper which, when touched at specific points, could launch audio segments related to those featured in the photograph. The project ran between 2011-2013. Winner of the EPSRC ‘Telling Tales of Engagement’ grant.
- Appeared at SxSW festival in Austin, Texas (2012 and 2013)
- Shown at news:rewired conference (November 2012)
- Named as one of netexplo’s top 100 global innovations (2012)
- Presented at Unbox festival, Dehli (2013)
- Presented at ICMC Conference, Porto (2012)
- Appeared at BBC’s Connected Communities conference, Salford (2012)
- Exhibited at London Design Festival (2011)
2010: Worked on the Bespoke Project, a multi-university two-year project (University of Central Lancashire, University College Falmouth, University of Dundee, Newcastle University and University of Surrey) innovation technology collaboration using insight journalism for community engagement in the deprived areas of the Callon and Fishwick in Preston, Lancashire.
Employing design-led digital technology as a tool in combating social exclusion and injustice, Bespoke used the media to develop a relationship with local residents and designers. My role on this insight journalism project included work as a media connector and evaluator, producing written and visual reports on the progress and effectiveness of the project as it developed.
The encouragement of participation and connectivity were core to Bespoke and led to the community engagement project Participants Utd (2011) which evaluated the impact of creative projects on communities, specifically assessing the traditional working model of participants producing data and academia extract knowledge from it. I contributed to this project, relating my experiences from Bespoke.
2009: Blackpool images shortlisted for the 2009 Travel Photographer of the Year award (Homeland).
2009: Produced images for Sunderland City Council as part of their successful World Cup 2018 Host City Bid. Shot photojournalistic images for Sunderland City Council’s Annual Report.
2009: Images from the photography project Outsiders – which examines how we judge others through prejudice, appearance and ignorance – exhibited at Museum of the People, Deptford, London.
2008: Held training workshops for Trinity Mirror journalists in Birmingham on how to take photographs with mobile phones.
2008 (Jan): Flashes to Ashes exhibited at Richard Goodall Gallery, Manchester.
2008: Completed Masters in Photography at University of Bolton.
2007: Produced book, Flashes to Ashes – a social documentary study on the ban on smoking in public using brash, uninvited in-your-face style images.
2007: From Here To There exhibited at People’s Museum, Manchester.
2002 (Oct) to 2018 (Oct): Freelance sub-editor and picture desk editor (2015-2018) for the Daily Star, Daily Star Sunday, Daily Express and Sunday Express. Subbing copy on the sports desk, including headline writing and ‘live’ match reports during tight deadlines. Role includes re-writing submitted copy and originating new work, often during incredibly tight deadlines in a high-pressure environment. Also compiled statistical data. Worked on special pre-season magazine for the Daily Star Sunday and produced special edition eight-page pull-out when England won the Ashes in 2005. Assumed role of chief sub when required due to illness/holidays.
1996 (to present): Freelance writer. Features written for magazines including 19, Eve, Practical Photography, Photography Monthly, 90 Minutes, Goal, Football Monthly, Total Football, Shoot!, BBC’s Match of the Day Magazine and United Magazine, plus dozens of trade titles. Travel articles written on destinations including Israel and the West Bank, Jordan, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Austria (Lake Worthersee), Tobago, the French Alps (summer/winter), Italian Dolomites, Disneyland Paris and Boot Camp (Malvern, UK). City breaks include Vienna, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Bergen, Antwerp, New York, Rome and Berlin. Regular match reporter for the Sunday Mirror, also contributed articles for the Observer, Sunday Express, Daily Star Sunday, The People, News of the World. Also freelance writer with public relations companies Agencia (part of Stewart Lawrence Group), Cicero, MTJ Associates, Comserve and Cartmel PR.