181 - Lewis Bush


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Originally from London, Lewis Bush studied at the University of Warwick, worked as a researcher for the United Nations HIV/AIDS taskforce in Geneva, and in 2012 started to develop his own research led photographic projects. In his work he looks for ways to visualise powerful agents, practices and technologies, and the links that connect them. To do this he employs a wide range of research strategies, from depth interviewing to open source investigation, and works across media and platforms, using photography, text, video, data visualisation, exhibitions, books, films, and apps.

For Metropole (2015) he investigated the transformation of London at the hands of unaccoutable developers and property speculators. In Shadows of the State (2018), he examined the secret communications used by intelligence agencies, creating images from intercepted signals and uncovering a previously unknown geography of covert radio broadcast sites. Many of his projects have been published as books and have been featured in the press internationally.

In 2018 Lewis spent six months as photographer in residence at the Société Jersiaise in the Bailiwick of Jersey, where he laid the groundwork for an ongoing project about the international finance industry, tentatively titled Trading Zones. In 2019 he was BMW artist in residence at Gobelins – École de l’image, Paris, France, working on an augmented reality app about computer vision and artificial intelligence, titled Ways of Seeing Algorithmically.

As well as being recipient of both the Archisle and BMW residencies, his work has been nominated and shortlisted for numerous international prizes.

As an educator Lewis teaches on the MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (online/part-time) course at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London and has been a visiting speaker at numerous other institutions and he is currently a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics, department of Media and Communications where he is researching the impact of machine intelligence on photojournalism, and consequently on democracy, funded by an Economic and Social Research Council grant.

Lewis recently fully funded on Kickstarter a forthcoming book entitled Depravity's Rainbow: A Dark History of Space Travel which explores the influence of imperialism, the Holocaust, and the Cold War on contemporary space exploration.

On episode 181, Lewis discusses, among other things:

  • Depravity's Rainbow and the fascinating story of Wernher von Braun
  • Number Stations, as featured in his project Shadows of the State
  • Making abstract subjects visible
  • The perils of calling people out for ethical transgressions
  • Current trends among photography students
  • His photographic and academic journey
  • Blueprints and cyanotypes
  • The colonisation of space by billionaires
  • His project, Metropole
  • His blog, Disphotic

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“I trained first as a historian and then I worked as a researcher and then I retrained as a journalist, and however kinda weird and conceptual my projects are I think the accuracy and truthfulness of them is critical. ”

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