Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some kind of miracle, talking in tongues near the Room of the Last Supper, Jerusalem

This is almost a miracle - and it is almost Christmas.

In September 2008 I witnessed American tourists as they began making strange noises with their mouths - I think this is more commonly called talking in tongues.

The tourists were one by one becoming possessed by spirits. And one by one they fell to the floor. 

We aere all in a room outside of the Room of the Last Supper, which is at King David's Tomb in Jerusalem. My guidebook does state that the Room of the Last Supper is not actually the room where Jesus and his disciples actually had the Last Supper - but this did not deter these tourists.

I thank them for allowing me to photograph a minor miracle. 

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Outside the Room of the Last Supper from Garry Cook on Vimeo.

A more substantial documentary essay, covering several of the world's most religious sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, will be produced in 2011. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas photographs

This is a lovely documentary essay on what we British do at Christmas.

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This is Christmas from Garry Cook on Vimeo.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Zoom H2 audio recorder or equipment every journalist must have

My continuing quest to find the best equipment for journalists and photographers.

If you’re a serious journalist – or a photographer adding a soundtrack to your work – you need a recording device.

In fifteen years doing interviews I’ve worn out a Tandy dictaphone and three Olympus Pearl Corders (all analogue) and an Olympus DS-2300 (digital) recorder.

They all did their jobs but have two main drawbacks. Firstly, the quality of audio is so poor that it can’t be broadcast in any form and, secondly, the background noise make it very difficult to pick out words – often requiring time-consuming multiple playbacks.

The Zoom H2 is a revelation. Retailing between £110 and £150 it offers broadcast quality recording. It is used by BBC radio journalists. It was recommended to me by a man who advises and works with BBC staff.

Musicians, particularly bands, have also had great success in recording demos with the Zoom H2, utilising its multi-directional microphone system.

The quality of audio is outstanding. Unlike traditional dictaphone recorders, it does not pick up heavy background noise. Three recording levels also allow distant sounds such as crowd chanting.

Also, you have a choice of recording formats, making the machine much more versatile than the Olympus which uses its own file formats and must be converted with separate software.

The only downside to the H2 is the controls on the menu screen which are fiddly. The screen is not the easiest to navigate.

In the age of multi-platform journalism, to have the option to broadcast your audio recordings is crucial. This Zoom H2 is ideal.

NOTE: As with previous recommendations, these opinions are totally independent.

NOTE TWO: Zoom H4 is also available but costs a whole lot more.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Merry Christmas! cards Prezi presentation

Merry Christmas! cards Prezi presentationThis a presentation I did about my marvellous Merry Christmas! cards.
It was done with the presentation system Prezi.

.prezi-player { width: 440px; } .prezi-player-links { text-align: center; }

Friday, December 10, 2010

Preston students protest and sing-song

On Wednesday December 8, the students of Preston marched into the city to protest about the impending rise in tuition fees. This is what happened.

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Preston students tuition fees protest from Garry Cook on Vimeo.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

GC in AG Magazine

This is the current issue of Chris Dickie's AG magazine.
It's one of the best photography magazines in the world. It's quite expensive, too. £12.50. That's British pounds. But it is good.

And this is a little piece about my lovely Merry Christmas! cards.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Merry Christmas! cards in the Lancashire Evening Post

Monday, December 6, 2010, was a special day - my first appearance on Page 3.

Sadly it was not the Daily Star and I had all my clothes on.

And here is the page:

Don't forget to buy your Christmas cards - available from this blog (see below).

You can follow the writer, Melanie Wallwork on twitter @


Postage options
Posted to the UK £9.00 Posted to Europe £11.00 Posted to Rest of World £13.00

Received from Russia again

As well as receiving more images from Russian girls (who I do not believe are spies) several new girls have contacted me searching for friendship and a way out of Russia.

Irina's images (Irina Timerkhanowa) are clearly stolen images and can be found elsewhere on the internet.

But it's the images of the other girls which interest me more, clearly not professionally taken and some of which show glimses of the lives behind the emails.

That said, the style of English used in the accompanying emails from these girls - and the similarity of what they say - suggests some sort of organised project which these girls are part of.

Is there a super-hub where 100 beautiful Russian women sit at desks hammering out replies to emails from Western men who are beginning to think their dreams have come true?

This is the real story. To the photos. Evgenia, Ksaniya, Marina, Mary Yana and, of course, Masha.

Ksanyia (above) Evgenia (two photos, above)   Mary (three photos, above) Marina (above) Yana (three photos, above)

And then these are Masha (below)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Duke of Lancaster Regiment - Blackburn Homecoming

This was a march with a difference. Freezing cold, snow, delayed for an hour. But there were still thousands of people lining the streets to see the Duke of Lancaster Regiment's Homecoming parade.

I was staggered at how many people turned up. The town was rammed. The parade was delayed by over an hour because the regiment was delayed by the poor road conditions. Many people took had taken up their positions two hours before the parade started.

There was an atmosphere of pride and euphoria. It was far removed from the EDl march I witnessed in Preston a few days earlier (though EDL supporters and flags were here).

But anti-Taliban chants apart, this was not about muslims, racism or perceived racism - it was a celebration of the work of British soldiers and a thank-you for the sacrifices some have made for their country.

Seeing community gatherings like this, gathering to pay respect to others, is one of the more uplifting aspects of modern society. Makes you believe community still exists in some form in this country where too frequently people come together only for reasons of hate and exclusion.

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Blackburn Homecoming - Duke of Lancaster Regiment from Garry Cook on Vimeo.
Wednesday December 2010 in Blackburn, Lancashire. The Duke of Lancaster regiment attended a service at Blackburn Cathedral before marching through the town.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Buy prints, buy books, support photography


Photography in Britain desperately needs to be promoted in a slicker, visible and artistic way.

In this country the genre is far more unseen, unloved and under-valued than in more visual-thinking countries.

From the Japanese to the Yanks, the Germans and, of course, the culturally advanced Dutch, most other nations consume, enjoy and understand photography more than us.

When is comes to culture, and possibly this is not confined to just photography in the British Isles, us lot are a bit behind the clock.

Buying prints or buying photography books just isn't on the radar of the vast majority of our citizens.

Whether it's for yourself or for others, the industry needs an initiative which inspires people to buy photography - and does not preach only to itself.

There is an increasing interest in the consumer part of photography who are using sites like Snapfish, Pixum and Photobox to print mini-books of family images. I think this is an area which needs to be exploited, perhaps with online book retailers linking up with these sites so consumers can find photobooks more easily.

On-line publishing sites like Blurb and Lulu are almost unknown to photographically-challenged consumers (that is those who do not actively enjoy photography as art) and the bookshop areas of these sites are fairly appalling.

There are some great photobooks for sale on Blurb and Lulu's website but quite frankly it's too much of a challenge to find them.

For my part, all my family will be the proud recipients of photo books this year. I hope the images within them will take their breath away and inspire them to look at photography more closely.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

England this England or the EDL march through Preston

The English Defence League bring their own brand of entertainment to Preston.

Standing outside the Jazz Bar in Preston city centre at midday was like being outside a pub on the way to a football match. Noisy, loads of booze and not pleasant smelling.

The EDL are a group formed to oppose Sharia Law and Muslim extremism. I think it's fair to summarise their cause as being against jihadism and not Muslims in general. I have to say too often I heard the term 'Muslim' used in a way that did not make me enthusiastic about their cause.

If you look at members of the EDL you immediately think: racist football hooligan. This may be wrong but in an era where image is everything, this perception is unlikely to change unless the group's fashion does.

United Against Fascism held a demonstration at the same time as the EDL march just a few hundred metres away across the city. The two groups definitely do not shop in the same department store.

The plus points were that the march seemed to take place without any trouble. I saw nothing. The police, out in force, did an excellent job.

But I did witness a change of mood in the build-up to the short march. Friendly chat and smiles were replaced why what I can best describe as hysteria, fuelled by firework bangers and smoke bombs.

Most ironic moment of the day for me was meeting someone who used to live in the city, a self-confessed racist, who had travelled down from Carlisle to see the march - but was refusing to take part in it as he did not want to be negatively associated with the EDL. A racist worried about his public image? Where does that leave us?

A blogger called Banjaxer came up from Manchester to experience the demonstration and he makes some excellent points.

He said: "Sadly all I witnessed today was a mob, and mob is the correct word, of mostly young men with an obvious lack of understanding of  where they live. The country they all claim so loudly to love is not the country they think it is.

"In their small world England is under threat from what they mostly referred to as ‘Muslim c*nts’ or ‘paki b*st*rds’ who want to make us all follow ‘sharia laws’ and ‘blow us up to f*ck’.

"If any of them really think they have the support of anyone apart from a few poorly educated rejects from the Jeremy Kyle show with anger management issues, they are very much mistaken.

"All their best efforts at reasoned debate on the internet and elsewhere all fall apart when they get together and descend into a ranting, racist chanting, hoard of  hate filled hooligans.

"They need to educate themselves a bit more about the facts of immigration and assimilation; the history of the working class in Britain and our place in the world; the failings of fascism, national socialism and oppression of minorities in European history."

His full blog can be read here

This is Preston, this is the EDL:

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EDL Preston November 27, 2010 from Garry Cook on Vimeo.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hebden Bridge

In 2009 I travelled to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire to do a photo essay and some interviews for a pilot magazine called Love Town.
These are the photographs I took that day.
The music is by the pseudo rock band One English Pound.

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Hebden Bridge from Garry Cook on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Received photography - the video

She also asked for $990 - despie not knowing anything about me. Where I live. What I look like. Or even my full name. She says she still wants to share her life with me though.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More Received photography

More Received photographs this week, this time from a delightful-looking lass named Irina.

The tone and sentiment in the email is very similar to those from Mash, Yuila and Becky (she has no kids, never been married and does not have regular access to a mobile phone or the internet).

The question I'm asking myself about the Russian scam mafia is: who is the girl in these images? Does she know her image is being used in some sort of email scam?

The worrying bit is she says she's going to book her flight from Moscow now - or at least as soon as I tell her the name of my nearest airport. Crikey, she is keen.

However, a quick search on the excellent Tin Eye reveals that a number of these images are available on several peculiar websites around the world.

What does this mean? It certainly makes me feel a little less guilty about posting these images. They are clearly not a genuine appeal for love (not that I'm looking for love like).
I have received three emails from Irina. Read this one (below) and then tell me if I'm having my emotions manipulated or if I should take a bunch of flowers to Leeds/Bradford Airport.

At first I think I have to say that I am new in cyber space and I have only good intentions. you should know that I am not very good writer in english,please be patient to read my messages and see many be fair I don't know what you want to know about me, in principle. 

First of all I wish to ask your full name, mine Irina Timerkhanowa. I am usual girl. I think I should tell you about me, my interests,tastes and hobbies.I think I will tell you about things I want to know about you and you will know my future questions. I am 25 years old, my birthday is 18 August  1985.

I so much don't want to get older ,when I can see old women I am getting crazy to think that it is my future .I do all the best to keep my youth and I keep my body well. In spite of all difficultes here I am trying to be in good condition and I do a lot of exercises to be in good shape!

I am about 172 cm tall (5.6) and my weight is about 56 kg. I've been told I look well enough, and I think that all women have own beaty. I have never been married and don't have kids but I love them and they love me!

I have one youngest sister and it is great problem for us because we have only two rooms can't imagine what does it mean to be born in small town in Russia,there are not any chances to live well,to get a good job.All young people leave towns to search great luck in big cities but nobody waits for them there. I want to leave Russia,I know it sounds ugly but I know that I will be lost here like many young girls before me.
It is not place to grow children and have stable future.

I want to meet my right man. I think in future I can work as fitness trainer I have a certificate. My mother is my great problem too,she has a great dream to see me married and she wants to make me happy but I think it is only my business I am not a little child. She tells me every day that I should get married very soon.

To be fair I am not sure I  am able to explain all in first message I want to say so much! I just want you to know that I am not afraid to work, I am fairly goal oriented and I am sure you will be not disappoined to meet me in real life.I am going to spend three months abroad to work in any good place,agency promises to help me because it is only the way I can leave Russia. I will have all documents to travel in a few days and i will travel to Moscow then,from Moscow I will travel to you and they ask me about name of the city i am going to work, if you don't mind to meet me please tell me the name of your city and nearest international airport! I will book my flight from Moscow!

I think  it would be so great to meet my love and stay there forever. I know that it is not so easy like I think but I think it is possible that I meat my real love. I want to love and to be loved I want to build our own happiness, only me and my man there.

I don't smoke,I tried to smoke when I was younger.I may have a glass of red dry vine,sometimes it helps to relax. I try to take care of my body and face. I know it is all I have. My soul may have any itnterst for you later, I thinkso.I am not a little girl and I know that at first almost all men look at body ,legs and face.God created males such persons. Well,I think I am lost in my letter,I am not sure you understand my goals,please feel free to ask.

I live in Russia! Region Sibiria, Irkutsk Oblast' (Area) in a small town Angarsk. My adress:
town Angarsk
Factory street 17, flat 42..

My city is really far from center of our country.Moscow and St Petersburg are located far from my place.
I would like to write if we understand interests of each other. If you understand my soul,my interests. If it is difficult read so long letters please let me know. I will write then shorter one.

I write from another city now. Name of this city is Irkutsk. The reason is we don't have internet cafe in my town. It is mean that it take me 1 hour to get in this city by bus. Please don't worry if i will answer you not so fast. I hope that you will understand me that it is difficult be in another city fast. I don't have private mobile phone.In our small town only 3 digital phones.This phones can use only for call inside Russia. If we have to call 
inside the country we have to order call through the operator. It's impossible to call abroad.

Russia really is very difficult country!!! Please write me about yourself. I have to know everything. Your interests,hobby and so on. The last one. I have several very important questions to you.
Do you like alcohol drinks? Do you drink it often? Have you been rude with women?

Well,I have to stop or I will write without ending. Kiss you !see you later. In my next e-mail I will write you more things about myself and more details about my trip and work.

Yours Irina

P.S. I should go in the Internet of cafe in other city,
therefore following time I shall write to you in a day, or two.

NOTE: To avoid any confusion, this woman is a scammer. See this page here.

NOTE TWO: Irina is also know as: Ekaterina Solovyeva, Karamelka, Irina Komelina, Diana, Ekaterina Razgonova, Elena Kashkova, Svetlana Kiselyova, Inna Lihachova, Irina Komelina, Marina Krestyaninova, Natalia Jurtikova, Natalia Yrtikov, Elena Sharina, Tatyana Kiseleva, Vnisy, Svetlana Startseva, Elena Ushakova, Irina Russkih, Tatyana Krestyaninova, Natalia Loskotova, Ekaterina Samaeva, Olga Bondareva, Daria Iskrinka, Daria Kleschevnikova, Daria Lebedeva, Natalia Andrianova, Irina Astah, Anna Kurshakova, Oksana Tkach, Elena Kiseleva, Natalia Orehova, Irina Shalagina, Maria Talanova, Elena Griaznova, Olga Vohmyakova, Lubov Kuznetsova, Ksenia Chercazianouva, Galina Scherstobitowa, Tatyana Gorbunowa, Valentina Semenchugowa, Valentina Simenchugouva, Elena Tyulkina, Julia, Natalia Denisowa, Irina Vdovichenko, Natalia Loskutova, Anastasia Belostotskaya, Elena Okuneva, Ludmila, Tatyana Shihmatova, Alina Sabitova, Marina Goloubinova, Marina Sirotina, Olga Zikova, Elena Voronina, Evgenia, Anna Wotintseva, Natalia Kalyonova, Elizaveta Onjanowa, Daria Sapichewa, Elena Prozorova, Anastasia Bambourina, Ekaterina Tsaregorodtseva.