Brave Books

A spread from Lewis Bush’s photobook Shadows of the State

Shadows of the State
by Lewis Bush

The Cold War ended in 1991, but echoes of it can still be heard today. One example of this are numbers stations, short wave radio broadcasts of coded messages, believed to be intended for undercover agents in enemy states. Despite originating in the darkest days of the last century these transmissions continue today, with broadcasts occurring daily from countries including Russia, Cuba, and North Korea.

Shadows of the State is a photographic project by Lewis Bush which investigates these mysterious broadcasts and attempts to locate the likely transmitter sites of thirty of these stations. These sites are then mapped using high resolution satellite imagery and displayed alongside radio spectrograms, audio recordings, and extensive information about each station.

Shadows of the State is not just about numbers stations and their broadcast sites it’s about the state within a state, a Leviathan that hides in the deep waters. /

The images and the content of the book bring to mind the opening titles of the Coen brothers 2008 film Burn After Reading. / Lina Manousogiannaki, Urbanautica

As the Eye Wanders
by Rosemarie Zens

As the Eye Wanders retraces the pictorial transfigurations where memory and perception are interwoven on different planes.

“Perception mirrors the premises of the external world, while memory reflects the internal world. The photographic images, as a vital transitional medium and metaphor, anchor and communicate perception and memory, and as that anchor, photography produces an infinite chain of associations that challenges the photographer’s eye and the viewer’s mind: seeing how two or more shapes in a picture, happening in the same space, have created rhythm in time,” states Rosemarie Zens.

Clear of People
by Michal Iwanowski

Michal Iwanowski’s photobook Clear of People documents a 2,200km solitary journey that echoes his grandfather’s daring escape from soviet captivity in 1945.

This visual journey comes from the photographer’s personal archive as the project re-enacts the map drawn by and inherited from his uncle. It begins in Russia, where Michal’s grandfather was kept as a prisoner-of-war together with his brother. Their daring escape from the camp was followed by a three-month trek with constant hunger and exhaustion. The two men stayed clear of people, trying to avoid any possibly risky contact. What kept them alive was their longing to return to their family back in Poland.

Clear of People stands out as a both a beautiful example of the art of landscape photography, and a fitting salute to the endurance of the human spirit. / Robin Titchener, Photobookstore Magazine

The snow and the dark atmosphere in these images bears some resemblance to Luc Delahaye’s book Winterreise – if music could accompany Iwanowski’s photographs, it would be written in a despairing D minor. / Marco Bohr, Photomonitor

Victory Park
by Arnis Balcus

Arnis Balcus’s photobook Victory Park focuses on a particular location in the Latvian capital of Riga, a park with a complex history overlaid with the policies of former regimes and cumbersome social realities. This photographic work is more than just documentation or research material – the spontaneity of the shots and the juxtaposition of the images in the book creates an impression of an artistic experiment carried out in-situ.

“One could easily say there’s nothing to photograph there, because it’s just like any other park,” says Latvian photographer Arnis Balcus of Victory Park. / Eva Clifford, British Journal of Photography

Arnis Balcus creates in his series more of an impression than a description of the Victory Park. What we may see are photographs of seemingly different origins, yet working gracefully together to create a visual unity. / Krzysztof Sienkiewicz, Urbanautica