Inside this issue
In retirement, Graham Cook is a painter of portraits and a free-thinking abstract photographer with determination to retain an openness of mind and capacity for wonderment.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Graham’s abstract creations have been punctuating our social media feeds for a while now, prompting us to wonder at both his unique take on the world and also how the heck he does it. When he wrote a piece for On Landscape back in 2016, his opening line began “Photographically I consider myself largely anonymous….”
Well, that is no longer the case, and in March 2019 he will have a solo exhibition at the Joe Cornish Galleries which will bring his eclectic and personal images to a wider audience. Having seen some of his prints last year, I can say that it promises to be something rather special. ‘InnerVisible - The World Within : The World Without’ will be at the Joe Cornish Galleries from 9 March - 13 April 2019.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, your education and early interests, and what that led you to do?
I’m a Kentish Man rather than a Man of Kent, having been born to the west of the River Medway. My family, and particularly my wife’s family, has a local history that can be traced back to 1620 so we do feel a strong connection with the area. But things are changing. I fear the essence and richness of history and spirit of community slowly being whitewashed by relentless urbanisation. With it come people with a narrow mindset and money worshipping sense of entitlement who chase a quite different history.
As an only child with a vivid imagination, my father was a huge influence. He came from that generation who seemed able to tinker with anything. His ‘shed’ was a veritable Aladdin’s cave of treasures and after he passed away, clearing out a lifetime of memories that most would consider worthless, was very emotional. An electrical engineer by trade, he could strip down and service a motorcycle or car, repair watches, engrave glass, put boats in bottles and play the spoons. He used to suspend himself from branches by his feet, which was no small feat. He had all kinds of instruments from crashed WWII fighters and on Guy Fawkes’ night, he would shave slivers from an incendiary bomb and toss them on the bonfire to startling effect. He anticipated really bad weather and stormy seas and would whisk me off at strange times of the day or night to experience the effects first hand.