We’re pleased to share an online exhibition of Michael Cook’s most recent photographic series, Fake.
Shot in remote locations across the central Australian desert, Fake follows an Indigenous couple and their adopted child on a road trip through the outback. As we follow the story, the family who are decked out with luxury clothing and goods, gradually become more immersed in the ancient landscape.
Inspired by Cook’s personal story (with a nod to past Gucci campaigns), the series reverses Cook’s own biography: he was adopted into a non-Indigenous family, and growing up traveled to remote communities with his parents whose hobby was gold prospecting.
Cook cheekily places luxury brands and accessories, both real and counterfeit, throughout the images. This use of ‘fake’ items parallels the misuse of Indigenous motifs, similarly co-opted as tourist souvenirs since the 1950s. As the narrative continues, the family slowly becomes more connected to their surroundings.
In recent years, Cook has spent more time in small First Nations communities, observing the strength of peoples’ connections to each other and the environment, a balance that has existed for millennia.
He said, ‘In Fake, the three travelers find a release from their contemporary trappings and move toward a deeper level of connection. You could say that this reflects my journey in life – and a realisation of what is important and enduring in this world.’
See Exhibition catalogue HERE