People, Stories 2

Capturing Cumbria’s Voice – Ross Cooksey by Steve Crook & Jenn Mattinson

This is the first installment of four from the mixed-media project Capturing Cumbria’s Voice created by Steve Crook and Jenn Mattinson. Watch for additional installments of this series on Rear Curtain

Ross Cooksey – Boxer

Ross is a young lad from the post industrial town of Barrow. He dreams of becoming a champion boxer and trains several times a week in a little hut on an estate, on the outskirts of the town.

Capturing Cumbria’s Voice

Two creative artists from Cumbria in North West England, Steve Crook and Jenn Mattinson, have been working on a project that explores the relationship between portrait photography, people’s stories and sound. The lives of four folk from Cumbria was their focus. From a variety of social and economic backgrounds, Gordon, Ross, Dawn and Bob have shared their passions, experiences, memories and personality through their willingness to be photographed and interviewed. The result is a demonstration of how seemingly ordinary people living within Cumbria are contributing to its unique social history. The four selected profiles appear as a slideshow of images and sound and have been designed to capture interest from a wide ranging audience. The people behind the profiles are very genuine, honest individuals at different points in their lives, expressing a real passion for their chosen subjects. Steve Crook and Jenn Mattinson have married together a collection of artistic mediums – portrait photography, oral history, spoken word, poetry and sound effects – and hope that the result will reflect the ways in which different art forms can work together and complement each other to showcase their artistic work. This is Steve and Jenn’s first artistic collaboration and it recently premiered at Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle, Cumbria.

Steve Crook’s photography belongs to a genre that combines portraiture and social documentation, inspired by the likes of Daniel Meadows, Tony Ray-Jones, Chris Killip and Larry Fink. A great deal of his work is presented in the form of photostories or collections. Recent projects include ‘Rare Breed’, a study of the members of Springfield Homing Club and ‘Jubilee, the way we were’, a series of portraits taken on the day of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Steve is currently working with descendants of World War One soldiers to create a photographic link between those who fought and those they fought for.

Jenn Mattinson is a freelance Creative Practitioner, specializing in oral history, sound and media, theatre and reminiscence. She is passionate about working creatively in local communities, with young people, adults, the older generation and in an intergenerational context. Jenn is currently working with Morecambe Bay Partnership in Lancashire to facilitate and deliver a four year oral history project centered on the inshore fishing communities across Morecambe Bay. She is also leading a series of creative arts sessions for older people in West Cumbria and for people living with dementia at Theatre by the Lake in The Lake District, Cumbria.

For more information or to contact the artists please visit or email

Project contributors:

Gordon and Anne Harris

Ross Cooksey

Dawn Foster

Bob and Margaret Kendall

Photography: Steve Crook

Sounds and voices recorded and produced by Jenn Mattinson

Harmonica in ‘Gordon’ devised and performed by Stevie Stoddart

Poetry in ‘Ross’ written and recorded by Jenn Mattinson and performed by Kieran Williams

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  • Hilary says: September 4, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Steve’s photography is captivating, really enjoyed that 🙂

  • PeterH says: September 5, 2015 at 3:15 am

    Up to Steve’s usual high quality. I liked the sound which accompanied the photos with a twist at the end.