A Golden State is a survey into mythologies associated with Californian existence. By following historical and contemporary paths of ideological propagation, A Golden State highlights the mirage of an idealized existence connected to place. Having lived within Hollywood’s sphere of influence, the dissonance between its reality and its referent becomes increasingly removed with its role as the backdrop of Western ideology.
All of the photographs in A Golden State were created within California’s borders between the years 2012 to 2018. Most images were generated on week long trips in which I would travel throughout the state, equally balancing prior research and unfettered exploration to allow for the unexpected to inform.
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.
Buy A Golden State book here
Text and pictures by Shawn Bush