Since 2013, I have called myself a “native tourist.” I'm a New York native who has the confidence of a local and an eye of a tourist. Through photography, I'm creating an archive of how I visualize life and expressing one’s self. I focus on making visuals that connect from the past and present eras of time. I'm constantly noticing emotions and symbols, which are aesthetically pleasing. This led the way for me to interact with people in different communities and explore how they inhabit our shared environment. Whether those in my photos are familiar or unfamiliar faces; I enjoy the experience of human interaction in all my work. Sometimes it is action shots of my subjects in motion, performing for the camera, or the quiescence of still lives and cityscapes.
I process photographs in many techniques from chemistry to paper types. I enjoy experimenting with materials such as canvas, paper, and more to push the boundaries of fine art photography. My projects create a patchwork representation of my generation and the black experience living in the United States. It is a complicated yet expansive topic that is both timeless and specific to my era. In my recent projects, I felt it was my duty to document the Black Lives Matter movement; it represents the black historic moment within my timeline, which connects me to my ancestors.
Christopher Cook is a New York-based artist born and raised in Brooklyn. After a friend recommended one of his very first cameras, a Canon AE-1; he began photographing his neighborhood and those around it. Cook has exhibited his work in gallery exhibitions throughout New York, from the Lower East Side to Auburn in upstate New York. Cook recently was in a group exhibition, Bathing in Blackness: A Necessary New Order in September 2020. It showcases his recent project documenting the Black Lives Matter Movement from May 2020 to August 2020.
Images courtesy the artist.
Interview questions developed by 2020 AIM Curatorial Intern Victoria Sperotto.
Gelatin Silver Print
11 x 14 in.
Downtown LA Fire
Archival Inkjet Print
13 x 19 in.
Q&A with Chris Cook
Your work appears to be about creating and showcasing communities. How has your art or concept of community evolved in 2020?
In 2020, I learn how important to curate the visuals I capture. Originally, I organize what I capture within dates but during the events of this year I explore archiving in different themes. This helps me understands more on how I shoot by seeing how the story unfolds.
You photographed moments during the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests in New York. In your opinion, what is the importance of capturing the experience of people of color during this time?
It’s something I definitely want to document so many parts of what is going on—not just the frontlines. I have friends in this right now and I want to document them. When I shoot, I try to get different elements of what is going on. I want to talk about the stories that aren’t shown on the news. It might not be a cover photo of a newspaper, but it’s personal.
In your opinion, what role does art play in 2020 amidst the events of the past year?
Art is a way to capture history of my generation. I feel the amidst of the events of the past year, I use photography as a medium displaying different parts of black experience within the movement in order to give a voice to those who don’t have one or who have passed away.
What has been your most recent artistic concern?
Most recent artistic concern is not having enough material. Photography can be very expensive when you’re not working on on assignment. I’m doing it because it’s important to me and I want to see the work I make in history books.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming months and 2021?
Completing my recent photo series in 2020 following the pandemic and movement. Afterwards, I would like to continue with more experiments revolving creating images on different mediums and fabrics.
Do what you love
Archival Inkjet Print
13 x 19 in.