The Long Lens blog: Photography with added snaps, art and culture

The photography site for sore eyes. Featuring: Art, photography, performance and theatre. With extra writing because I'm also a writer.

The big smoke, Manchester

The second week of January 2008 was quite an unusual one for me: I had an exhibition of photographs on display at the Richard Goodall Gallery For Contemporary Art in Manchester and I went skiing for the first time.

The exhibition was in fact a graduation show for my Photography MA at Bolton University. Unfortunately I had to miss the ‘opening night’ (I use the term loosely cos the exhibition had already been running for four days) because I flew out on a press trip to La Plagne in the French Alps.

Skiing was brilliant, thanks for asking. I only had one hour-and-a-half lesson topped off with a fast and furious sling down the Olympic bobsleigh track with three petrified girls. Of course I wasn’t scared at all (the cable car going down was worse).

It was worth the trip, even if Sir Ian Beesley was a bit narked I missed the show.

When I got home on Saturday night my inbox was full of the usual strange messages, but one particularly stood. It was from a guy who had been to the exhibition and wanted a copy of my book. What a nice man.

As I believed the subject matter was un-sellable, this request came as a bit of a shock. I don’t even think it was a wind-up from Sir Ian.

Last week I also got interviewed about my photos for the Bolton Eveing News. This is what I said (taken from the Preston Citizen website, who belong to the same company):

A student, who is studying for an MA in international photojournalism, documentary and travel photography, thought that the effects of the smoke ban on the social lives of people in the north west were so interesting he decided to photograph them for his degree show.

Preston-based Garry Cook, who completes his University of Bolton course in October, said: “On the first day of the ban I went to a pub in Blackpool where this guy is still defying the ban now, and there were people there who hadn’t smoked for 20 years who were having a fag in the pub because they disagreed with this law.

“There is a lot of anger – sometimes pointed at me, and sometimes at my camera and sometimes at the Government.

“But, on the whole, the smokers were very chatty and thought of themselves as being defiant together – and that’s not something you get these days in society, people being united over a current affairs issue.

“There was a sense of defiance that they were still doing what they wanted to do, even if they had to go outside to do it.”

Garry’s photographs will be included at an exhibition at Manchester’s new Richard Goodall Gallery For Contemporary Art.


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This entry was posted on January 14, 2008 by in photography smoking ban richard goodall gallery skiing exhibition garry cook.
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