A new street and documentary photography festival is coming to Lancashire - here's how to get involved

A new outdoor photography festival is coming to Lancashire - and aims to tell tales of everyday life during the pandemic.
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The first Lancashire Photography Festival is being organised by writer and photographer Garry Cook and will see street and documentary-style images shown off in a variety of open air spaces this spring.

Garry, who lives in Moor Park with his children Teddy, 14, and Betsy, eight, was awarded funding from Arts Council England to set up the festival and is now looking for both veteran and budding snappers to get involved.

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The 46-year-old, who is originally from Newcastle and moved to Preston 20 years ago to study at the city-based University of Central Lancashire, said: "It's so important to have arts and culture still going on through lockdown.

"People can see the images safely by walking the streets."

An internationally-renowned artist has already been lined up to take part, though their identity has yet to be revealed, while photographers from across the county, including in Blackpool, have also shown an interest.

But no experience is necessary, with a series of free online workshops due to be held to cover basic photography techniques, how to tell a story in a series of images, and how stories can be told without even leaving the house.

"If you don't have a camera and you are using a camera phone, fantastic, that's fine," Garry said.

"Some phones are as good as your average camera."

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Dawn Mander, 65, whose images at the Amazing Graze soup kitchen in Blackpool in 2015 were exhibited across the country by the Royal Photographic Society, said she is keen to take part in the festival.

"I hope it's going to be a big event," she said.

"We need something like this - the north is missing out a little bit, especially for photography."

A pair passionately embrace in Blackpool in 2020 (Picture: Garry Cook)A pair passionately embrace in Blackpool in 2020 (Picture: Garry Cook)
A pair passionately embrace in Blackpool in 2020 (Picture: Garry Cook)

Describing documentary photography as capturing "real grit" rather than "just pretty pictures", she said that while the pandemic has brought misery for many it has provided an opportunity for creative minds.

She added: "Any photographer that is any sort of social documentary fan is making the most of this moment in time."

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To be eligible, all images must have been taken this year, though they don't need to have been taken in Lancashire or even the UK.

Participants will be asked to tell a story in around six images, with five series set to be displayed in shop windows and other outdoor locations around Preston.

Masks being worn in Preston in 2020 (Picture: Garry Cook)Masks being worn in Preston in 2020 (Picture: Garry Cook)
Masks being worn in Preston in 2020 (Picture: Garry Cook)

Printing costs will be covered by Garry.

To apply to take part in the workshops, the first of which will be held on a weekday evening next month, and festival, click here or visit enjoyshow.co.uk/2021/01/05/call-out-take-part-in-lancashire-photography-festival-via-workshops-leading-to-an-exhibition-of-your-work/

If you have a business in Preston and have the outdoor space to host an image, contact Garry by emailing [email protected] or calling 07976579522.

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