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.

About me

Garry Cook is a freelance journalist and photographer.

Based in Britain, he has written and photographed for over 40 national and international newspapers and magazines.

He has reported on stories and social issues around the world and has published several documentary photography books.

Much of his work is now presented in multi-media style – video and photographic slideshows with audio.

A photographic theorist, he has experimented with imagery on products in an attempt to promote photography as an artform.

Performance photography, a series of live art performances including, er, photographs, have been written by me. They’re quite entertaining actually. See the blog about these. I’m available for hire as well.

Email: gazcook [at]

This is my (quite long) CV

Garry Cook // @gazcook

2017 (May-October): Documented six-month long Judaica project, funded by a Leadership Fellowship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Project involves embodied research by three skilled practitioners in a studio laboratory.

2017 (April-July): Produced two documentaries about sound installation Imponderable Sound Three and Bass Ensemble contemporary art live performance.

2017 (April): Documented The Birley Residency at The Harris Museum & Library

2017 (February): Performed Worn at Act-Formance (Blue Rooms, Byram Arcade, Huddersfield).

2016 (October): Produced a six-minute video for Preston City Council about the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, to be 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 (September): Organised and hosted a short story slam as part of the Lancashire Encounter arts festival held in Preston.

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 (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.

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 (October): Performed Pub Karaoke Photography Exhibition at Drunken Chorus event Drunken Nights IV at Devonshire Cat, Sheffield.

2015 (August): Performed Photographing Fags, Freaks and Fighting at Preston Tringe festival.

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). A second work, Central Lancashire Homesick Blues, was performed as a one-off at Cultural Collectives (New Continental, Preston).

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).

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 want to find out whether interactive paper could become a really interesting way of telling news stories or giving out information about what’s happening in the local community: and potentially create a new platform for community news. The project ran between 2011-2013. Winner of the EPSRC ‘Telling Tales of Engagement’ grant.

Public Outputs:

  • 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)

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. Marlboro Nights exhibited at The Continental, Preston.

2011 (September): Women and Alcohol exhibited at Oxford House, Bethnal Green, for Photomonth2011: East London Photography Festival.

2011 (September): 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 (September): Images from the Bespoke Project shown at the V&A in London as part of the London Design Festival.

2011 (August): Brilliant Blackpool exhibited at FYCreatives, Blackpool.

2011 (July): Part of Participants Utd, evaluating participation and connectivity within community engagement projects and assessing the traditional working model of participants producing data and academia extracting knowledge from it.

2011 (May/June): Women and Alcohol exhibited at Baltic Warehouse for Look2011: Liverpool International Photography Festival. Collaborative project with Redeye, The Photography Network.

2011 (January): Launched the Love Town photography podcast, a monthly video promoting documentary photography in Britain and around the world.

2011: Began work on a seven-year project documenting a class of thirty pupils at Penwortham County Primary School, in Lancashire. Work is produced as a yearly magazine.

2011: Published illustrated children’s book Albert the Pug and The Dog Thief.

2011: Published 6×9, a documentary photography photo book consisting of six projects made around the world. Subjects include Bethlehem, religion, Christmas, India and Smoking.

2010: Images produced for the University of Central Lancashire, University College Falmouth, University of Dundee, Newcastle University and University of Surrey on the Bespoke Project, a technology led initiative in Callon and Fishwick estates in Preston, one of the most deprived areas in Britain.

2010: Published a set of 12 documentary Christmas cards depicting the true meaning of the festive season in Britain (shopping, partying, eating, drinking).

2010: Part of Lightbox, a photography development programme developed by Redeye Photography Network.

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: Artistic images produced for Sunderland City Council as part of their successful World Cup 2012 Host City Bid. Shot photojournalistic images for Sunderland City Council’s Annual Report.

2009: Blackpool images shortlisted for the 2009 Travel Photographer of the Year award (Homeland).

2009: Outsiders images exhibited at Museum of the People, Deptford, London.

2008: Began research and preliminary interviews for series of portraits and interviews with extraordinary and misunderstood people called Outsiders which examines how we judge others through prejudice, appearance and ignorance.

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: Shortlisted for the 2009 Travel Photographer of the Year award (Homeland).

2008: Held training workshops for Trinity Mirror journalists in Birmingham on how to take photographs with mobile phones.

2008 (January): Flashes to Ashes exhibited at Richard Goodall Gallery, Manchester.

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: Completed a Masters in Photography at the University of Bolton, UK.

2007: From Here To There exhibited at People’s Museum, Manchester, part of a week-long workshop with photographer Tim Smith.

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