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.

Photographing Fags, Freaks and Fighting by Garry Cook

garry cook, korova, photographing fags freaks and fighting, photography, live-art perfromance, theatre, verbatim This is the press release for Photographing Fags, Freaks and Fighting: Press release Unique live-art performance photography show June 29, 2015 A photojournalist is bringing photography into the theatre in a unique cross-platform live-art event.

Garry Cook has developed a ground-breaking show featuring photography alongside video, music, spoken word and live performance, which will debut at Preston Tringe. Photographing Fags, Freaks and Fighting discusses themes of war, addiction, censorship and human behaviour.

At times humorous and shocking, the performance aims to provoke thought about human compassion and our place in the world around us.

The artist performed a segment of Photographing Fags, Freaks and Fighting at the Liverpool International Photography Festival in May, and plans to develop the show into a full-scale production.

Cook, from Preston, said: “I believe in the power of the image – to inspire, stimulate and change perceptions – and want to bring that power to a live audience and make the process of looking at photography a group experience.

“I wanted to do something theatrical with images and it took a long time to develop the idea into something achievable and engaging.

“The reaction from my first live-art performances was way beyond what I hoped and I’ve received huge encouragement, particularly form directors and producers who work in theatre.

“There are some graphic images in the show but they are not shown gratuitously, they highlight how disconnected we are from the reality of the world around us.

“In the past, the images we would see of war would be curated by newspaper and television editors who would filter out horrific images. If you know where to look, these images can now be found easily through social media but there is still a huge disconnection between what we perceive about war and the reality.

“This project challenges these perceptions through the themes human behaviour, celebrity culture and consumerism. Despite the serious issues, the show is very funny and captivating. I’m hugely motivated by the desire to entertain and produce something memorable.

“I’ve seen images some people would describe as difficult to look at, particularly from Syria and the Kurdistan region, but I think looking at these images raises levels of compassion – which is something we can never have enough of.”

Three of Cook’s own documentary photography projects form the basis of the performance.

They are:

Outsiders – a series of interviews with unusual and misunderstood people. Profiles include a treasure hunter, protester, a British soldier injured by ‘friendly fire’, a reiki healer, a homosexual-hating Westboro Baptist Church member and Israeli and Palestinian teenagers who have both seen family members killed in the conflict between their two nations.

Marlboro Nights – a project on the effects of the ban on smoking in public places.

Palestiniana – examining the conflict between Israel and Palestine taken from the photographer’s own experiences travelling across the West Bank. For this performance Cook has collaborated with photographers, poets and musicians. Manchester-based poet Mike Whalley wrote and performed In Doorways – which was then put to a soundtrack by musician Rob Mager (singer, Midnight Mafia, Manchester).

The video installation work was filmed by east Lancashire photographer Andy Ford. Cook added: “I’m particularly keen for photographers to come to the show and see what can be done with photography and how it can be exhibited in different ways.

“It’s brave of Preston Tringe to agree to put on the show. I’ve had more venues refuse to exhibit my work due to the content than I have actually exhibited.” Photographing Fags, Freaks and Fighting is at Photographing Fags, Freaks and Fighting is at Korova Arts Bar and Café, Charnley Street, Preston PR1 2UR from 4pm on Sunday, August 2, 2015.

The performance is free and is part of Preston Tringe which runs from Tuesday, July 28, to Sunday, August 2, 2015. Ends

NOTES:   Garry Cook is a journalist and documentary photographer. His projects explore social behaviour. Past work includes Flashes to Ashes, a project examining smoking in public and Brilliant Blackpool, a celebration of life in Britain’s brightest and brashest seaside town.

Cook has also published several books, including Palestiniana, Stay At Home Dads Are Not Welcome Here, FREE Days Out In Lancashire and the illustrated Albert the Pug series.

He has exhibited in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Blackpool. Images have also been used in several academic projects including Interactive Newsprint, Bespoke Project and The EDL: Britain’s “New Far Right” Social Movement.

Preston Tringe runs from Tuesday, July 28 to Sunday, August 2, 2015. Visit:

One comment on “Photographing Fags, Freaks and Fighting by Garry Cook

  1. Pingback: The Long Lens blog: Photography with added snaps

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This entry was posted on July 6, 2015 by in korova, Lancashire, live-art, photography, preston, theatre.
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