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Shawn Bush ( Lens based artist Shawn Bush grew up in Detroit MI, a city whose civic history and geographic location has profoundly influenced the way he thinks about space within the American sociopolitical landscape. He is interested in over-built systems, failing icons and crumbled mythologies. Bush earned an MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and BA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. He is the recipient of the 2016 T.C Colley grant for excellence in lens-based media and the 2017 Lenscratch Student Prize winner. His debut artist book A Golden State won first prize in the handmade category at the 2016 Lucie Photobook Prize in New York City and is included in several noted collections, including the Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston, MA and Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece. A Golden State was published by Skylark Editions in 2018. Bush is the founder of Dais Books and Associate Professor of Photography at Casper College. His upcoming monograph Between Gods and Animals will be published by Void (Athens, Greece) in Fall 2020.


LACP Interviews Shawn Bush

LACP asks Shawn Bush ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography.

Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?

Shawn Bush: I would consider myself a photographer that is interested in the inherent properties of the medium with a desire to explore its ability to communicate and conversely, miscommunicate.

LACP: How long have you been shooting?

SB: My first camera was a Minolta X-370 in 2002, so the last 28 years.

LACP: Where did you get your training?

SB: I received my BA from Columbia College Chicago and MFA from Rhode Island School of Design.

LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?

SB: Pretty early on I knew that I wanted to be involved with lens-based medias as a career. Around the age of 17 or 18 is when I knew that I wanted my life to revolve around the medium in any capacity and began my collegiate education.

LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?

SB: Oddly enough, in graduate school I was very interested eliminating photography within my artistic practice, though was still inevitably taking photographs. It has been an evolving passion. As photography continues to saturate every aspect of contemporary life, I find myself increasingly excited about the medium and its future.

LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?

SB: A substantial amount of time and money, though it would be difficult to consider that a sacrifice. The real sacrifice would be not spending that time with my wife, dogs, friends and family.

LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?

SB: An acute awareness for the power that photography has to inform and an ability to decode many of the visual languages used in daily life.

LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?

SB: Bookbinding for the Photographer.

LACP: What do you love most about teaching?

SB: I enjoy sharing my passion for the photographic frame, though am deeper in love with the intersection of image and object. Teaching the book arts allows me to share the years of knowledge I have gained from working as a book designer, artist and publisher to those interested in creating a book of their own work.

LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?

SB: Research. Find out what kind of photographer you want to be and then look at others who have been successful in that realm. Reach out to them and take a close look at their CV. Make your own work and be critical of it. Repeat.