Outdoor festival featuring acclaimed photographers coming to streets of Preston

Posted on - 6th March, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Preston City Centre, Preston News, What's On in Preston
Stockport Viaduct 1986 Pic: John Davies
Photographer John Davies is known around the world for his large-scale black and white images, such as this one of Stockport Viaduct from 1986 Pic: John Davies

A new outdoor photography festival being held in Preston will showcase the work of two of the world’s leading documentary photographers.


Lancashire Photography Festival, created by photographer Garry Cook, will display projects by renowned photographers John Davies and Peter Dench on the streets of Preston.

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John Davies is part of the British photography establishment, with his large-scale black and white images of industrialised landscapes recognised around the world.

Davies has exhibited throughout Europe, North America and Japan, and published over 20 books including A Green and Pleasant Land and The British Landscape. Since 2006, he has been active with campaigns to save open and green space. 

Davies said: “To view the landscape as a pictorial composition of elements is simplistic. To perceive the landscape within the context of its functions is a way people can deal with the complexity of meanings that are presented in our environment.


“We are collectively responsible for shaping the landscape we occupy and in turn the landscape shapes us whether we are aware of it or not.” 

Photojournalist Peter Dench documents British culture, producing brash colour images depicting brutal scenes of alcoholic excess.

Dench has published several acclaimed books including England Uncensored and A&E: Alcohol and England. His project The British Aboard will be shown at Lancashire Photography Festival.

An afternoon boat party for the many British seasonal bar workers and promoters in Ayia Napa, Cyprus. They are performing a dance to the 1979 funk anthem recorded by The Gap Band, Oops Up Side Your Head
16:25 An afternoon boat party for the many British seasonal bar workers and promoters in Ayia Napa, Cyprus. They are performing a dance to the 1979 funk anthem recorded by The Gap Band, Oops Up Side Your Head Pic: Peter Dench

Dench said: “During my career, I’ve had the privilege to work on assignment in over 60 countries across the globe but it’s towards the British I’ve consistently pointed my lens. It’s my home, my passion and its people are the ones I want to document most, warts and all. 

“When not annihilating themselves with alcohol at home, many young Brits can be found slowly turning pink in the party resorts across Europe. I look forward to exhibiting some of what I witnessed at the festival.”

Lancashire Photography Festival will also show work from cult artist Foka Wolf, who is known for their controversial spoof posters across the UK.

In addition, the work of dozens of local photographers, projects by Preston Photographic Society, and images of Preston skaters will be on display.

The city-wide event will see images exhibited on walls, hoardings, in shops windows and on specially-built displays. Sites involved include Preston Markets the former BHS building in Fishergate.

All images in the festival will be able to be viewed from the street, in a totally safe, socially-distanced way compliant with lockdown restrictions.

The festival is set to launch of Friday 2 April, a few days after the stay-at-home lockdown guidance is scheduled to be lifted in England.

Read more: A full run down of what can and can’t open in Preston and Lancashire on April 12

Organiser Cook said: “I’ve wanted to hold an outdoor photography festival for a long time. After a few months of lockdown last year it was obvious that an outdoor exhibition was the single best way to keep people engaged with the arts and culture in a safe way. 

“I was able to bring an exhibition of Cold War Steve’s work to Preston last summer during lockdown, putting large scale prints of his work in the windows of The Larder on Lancaster Road.

“Thousands of people saw Cold War Steve’s wonderful work and were able to see it at any time of the day a totally safe way. The reaction to it was tremendous – people absolutely loved the art. 

“That success enabled me to secure funding for this photography festival. It will start off this spring in a small way, an experimental pilot event, but the plan is to make it into a major festival held every year.

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“An outdoor festival is such an obvious thing to do in lockdown when all cultural venues are closed, as they have been for most of the past ten months. This festival will allow people in Preston to experience great art in a unique way.”

Read more: Cold War Steve’s latest exhibition comes to The Larder 

Cook says he hopes this year’s event will pave the way for a bigger festival in 2022.

He said: “I’m already working with Preston BID, the Harris Museum and the city council’s cultural department to help make this festival the best it can be.

“Although lockdown means this pilot festival will be kept small, the aim for future years is to help define Preston as a cultural destination for visitors through the world-class photography projects that will be put on display in the city. 

“I really want the festival to inspire local people and make them proud that this unique event is taking place in Preston. And I want to inspire the people who run the city and get them involved so that we can come back next year with an even bigger and better outdoor festival of photography.”

Full details on the Lancashire Photography Festival are available on the Enjoy The Show website.

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

Will you be going to the festival? Let us know in the comments.

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