Photography: I work principally in landscape and portraiture
Film: My films have been screened throughout Europe; I also curate programmes for festivals
Architecture: I am an RIAS Conservation Accredited Architect
My film and photographic work is guided by my knowledge, skill and experience as a conservation architect. The work is rooted in place and the intrinsic connections between people, land and heritage.
I grew up in the south west of Scotland, trained as an architect at the Glasgow School of Art then fled the country. I returned after a dutiful spell in London and a more relaxed time in Amsterdam to follow my interests in photography, film and art. I now live and work in Edinburgh.
My work is centred on the immediate; I try to reflect what I see, what I feel, through this lens. I try to avoid image manipulation, letting the film or 35mm negative be raw and honest. This often makes for dark and derelict imagery, but often tinged with positivity, with a move forward.
I’ve held two major solo shows this year, Sutherland | Caithness, at Timespan in Helmsdale and The Land and the Sea, as part of the Edinburgh Festival. Giles Sutherland, in his review of Sutherland | Caithness for Hi-Arts Magazine states:
“Alastair Cook’s black and white photographic images of Caithness and Sutherland – shot on 35mm film and hand-printed – repay close attention…[they are] carefully composed and conceived studies which use the camera’s framing eye to convey rich metaphor and a sense of quiet, spiritual wonderment.”
Description: Sutherland | Caithness
Sutherland | Caithness is an exhibition documenting Alastair’s photographic and artistic response to the people, heritage and lands of Sutherland and neighbouring Caithness. The photographs and film were all taken during a stay with Timespan in December 2009, during which the artist spent time with the community, developing an understanding of the place, its past and its future.
Sutherland | Caithness is an exhibition principally of black and white 35mm film photographs, set alongside new filmwork. The themes of dereliction and abandonment, common threads that weave through Alastair’s work, are visible in his response to Sutherland and Caithness, set alongside his strong response to the sea.
Description: The Land and the Sea: Photographs of the Eastern Seaboard
30th July until 14th August 2010
The Land and the Sea is an exhibition of black and white 35mm film photographs documenting Alastair’s artistic response to the people, heritage and lands of our eastern seaboard. It draws together work from his solo show Sutherland | Caithness, exhibited at Timespan in Helmsdale earlier this year, alongside new work detailing the hinterland between land and sea, along the east coast from Edinburgh to The Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
Alastair, in a recent profile by Creative Boom, offers insight into his working practice:
“My work is centred on the immediate; I try to reflect what I see, what I feel, through this lens. I try to avoid image manipulation, letting the film or 35mm negative be raw and honest. This often makes for dark and derelict imagery, but often tinged with positivity, with a move forward.”
Description: This is my iPhone Portrait series. The people are shot twice only, so these will not be perfect; the idea is to photograph the people I know or meet each day. The brief is simple- I must know the person; this is not street photography. And if it’s an imperfect photograph, technically, it still goes up: it’s all about the subject.