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 travelled to remote communities with his parents who’s 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 become more connected to their surroundings – the final image captures a celebration in the open landscape, and sees their designer clothes and luxuries discarded.
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 which has existed for millennia. He said, ‘In Fake, the three travellers 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.”