Lewis Bush

Lewis Bush works across media and platforms to visualise forms of contemporary power. After studying history and working in international development, he began developing his own projects in 2012. His work has explored issues ranging from the aggressive redevelopment of London to the systemic inequalities of the art world. Recent works include Shadows of the State, which examines the democratic deficit of intelligence gathering, and Trading Zones which focuses on international finance. Bush has written extensively on photography, and since 2011 he has run the Disphotic blog. He has curated exhibitions and is lecturer in documentary photography at London College of Communication.

The police were more interested in my professional-looking camera and tripod than anything I might actually be photographing, and ascribed to this equipment some magic power that the tourists with their compact point and shoots did not have.

Throughout its history, photography has been viewed as something imbued with magical qualities, able to detect the supernatural, or capturing a part of the identity of those it depicts. Even in more enlightened times, these beliefs linger, and security personnel and police officers often ascribe to photography an ability to capture and record dangerous levels of detail. In response to a series of encounters with such personnel, I began to travel to locations around the city of London equipped with a camera obscura, which I would then use to draw highly sensitive locations in meticulous detail, inviting a response. The aim was to draw these same security personnel and police officers into a discussion about their fears about photography, and to illustrate that the abilities we often associate with photography are not at all unique to it.


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