Julie Cook (b.St Albans, Herts) lives and works in London and is an artist whose work is photography based. For over 20 years Julie Cook has engaged with the issue of voyeurism within personal and public spaces of the city. A lot of her work has been collaborative; with the subjects themselves and often with her husband, Paul Davies, an architect.
She has taught at the Bauhaus Weimar, Berlin Technical University, South Bank University, London and was part of the ICA symposium on ErotICA in 2004. Julie Cook is currently working as a Senior Lecturer in Photography at University of East London.
Olympia Moments Ltd
Most striptease entertainment takes place in licensed pubs and clubs where strict rules apply. Underground sex entertainment venues bend these rules, but even if they worried about the judgment of others the Olympia Moments women were in control of what they offered for money. The Olympia Moments evenings embraced the underlying message of Manet’s painting; their bodies (with the help of some dressing up and some props and games) held the power.
Published as an artists' book. Softcover with leather, 168mm x 128mm, 164 pp, 2014. Edition of 100. Photographs and text, Julie Cook. Drawings and text, Paul Davies. £50
Beauties of Today
A series of portraits on ‘new’ burlesque. ‘New’ Burlesque has been described as a form of entertainment that is an exaggerated imitation or parody of striptease. It reflects the resurgence of this performance-based art that has found a new contemporary audience of both men and women. It is also a study of photographic portraiture and the erotic pose. The photos are all taken of mostly amateurs taking part in a yearly Tournament of Tease at the Working Men’s Club in – London’s East End – the home of ‘old’ burlesque in the UK. An exhibition of the work was awarded a London Arts Council Grant in 2008.
Published as an artists' book. Softcover, 7 x 7 inches, 120 pp, 2011. £25
Published as a limited series of small cards in a box. Softcover, 3.5 x 3.5 inches, 12 cards. Back in Black Publishing, 2010. £10 each
A collaboration with writer Paul Davies, based on a trip to Reno in Christmas 2004. Reno ‘The biggest little city’ did not disappoint. Refugee hippies from San Francisco; marvellous bar tenders (the book is dedicated to one of them, a certain Doug Twist) taxi drivers playing BTO steering with their knees; goats in Santa costumes riding in cars; big trucks; fantasy girls; fights; dope; antique markets and seductive, beautiful, dangerous, surviving ‘Americana’ where you nervously watch your back.
Limited edition book of 160. Softcover, 15cm x 10cm, 96 pp. Back in Black Publishing, 2010. £20
Some Las Vegas Strip Clubs
With the lights up and empty of people the photographs allow you to engage with a varied and often surprising architecture. The exteriors landscapes are all photographed in daylight and the interiors with the lights up. Some of the interiors are fantastic in their use of ‘luxury’ materials and design, some are not, but they are all public fantasy spaces. They invite fantasies of what might take place when the lights are down but at the same time reveal the illusion that construct them. Not unlike photography and its relationship to desire. The work represents over five years of work on this subject.
Published as an unlimited book. Softcover, 7 x 7 inches, 156 pp, 2008. £30
Las Vegas Diaries
The Las Vegas Diaries is a body of work on Las Vegas taken over a period of five years. It explores the difficulties of living the western dream in Las Vegas – a city where consumption of experience is extreme. It is also a collaboration with writer Paul Davies who is the subject of many of the photos and also author of the writing that has been published as a limited edition art book (Back in Black Publishing, 2005). Some of the series has also been published in Zeropolos, The Experience of Las Vegas, Bruce Begout (Reaktion, 2003).
Published as limited first edition, softcover, 7.5 x 5.5 inches, 326 pp, 2005, 100 copies. Back in Black Publishing, Out of Print.
Stripper of the Year
A continuation of the extreme close-up that includes both male and female striptease artists. The images are presented as a series of tryptics that allow the pleasure of form, rhythm and movement of a moment in time.
Wood Framed, 13 x 22 inches (33 x 56 cm)
Baby Oil and Ice
A series empty interiors of London Strip pubs empty of people that show only the signs of what happens in these spaces. Also a series of extreme close-ups of the dancers themselves that confront the voyeurism that is intrinsic to these spaces and how they are experienced.
Published as a collaborative book, Baby Oil and Ice, Striptease in East London (The Do-Not-Press, 2002) with Sarah Ainslie (Photographer) and Lara Clifton (Editor). Out of Print.