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.
Press for Shadows of the State so far:
The result of this is a 192 page photobook, Shadows of the State, which contains information, imagery and audio from thirty of these stations. The dummy was designed by Lewis Bush and the final version by Tom Mrazauskas. Tom is an award winning designer and founder of Berlin based photobook publisher Brave Books who will published the book in an edition of 700 copies. Alongside the physical book, a dedicated website will house additional recordings, information about the stations, and an explanation of some of the research methods used to produce the book.
The dummy book has been shortlisted for numerous prizes including:
- The Bar Tur Book Award 2015
- The LUMA Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2015
- Self-Publish Riga Dummy Award 2016
- The LUMA Rencontres Dummy Book Award 2016.
The specifications of the final book are:
- 60 images, texts in English
- 18×28 cm, 192 pages
- Section-sewn, swiss-bound
- Edition of 700
Video preview of the dummy book:
Cover and interior mock-up of the finished book:
We have already raised a significant amount towards the cost of publication and web development from a range of private funders and public grants, but to reach our target we need your help. Please support the Shadows of the State project by choosing one of the rewards here and by spreading word of this project to others. Rewards include:
Books Reward - An unsigned copy of the Shadows of the State book. A limited number of early bird copies are available at a reduced price.
Signed Book Reward - A signed copy of the Shadows of the State book, plus a 6x9 work print used in the sequencing of the book. This print might depict a satellite map, a spectrograph, or an archive image or document collected during the research phase. A limited number of early bird signed copies are available at a reduced price.
Flexidisc Reward - A signed copy of the Shadows of the State book, a work print from the making of the project, and a limited edition 7" flexidisc. Produced in an edition of 250, the flexidisc contains 'Woodford' an original composition created by Graham Massey using recordings of numbers stations. Massey is a musician, producer and founder member of the seminal British electronic music act 808 State.
Poster Reward - A signed copy of the Shadows of the State book, a 6x9 work print used during the sequencing of the book, the limited edition flexidisc, and a limited edition inkjet poster. Produced in an edition of 100, this 600m x 400mm poster depicts a Wullenweber or 'Elephant Cage', a type of massive radio direction finding array used during the Cold War for intelligence gathering.
Workshops Reward - A signed copy of the book, work print, flexidisc and poster, plus a half day workshop or lecture on the making of Shadows of the State delivered by Lewis Bush to your college, camera club, or other group. The session can include a demonstration of research methods, tuning to numbers stations, creating spectographs, satellite mapping or self-publishing. (Please note that if your venue is outside of London Lewis's travel and accommodation will also need to be covered.)
Collector's Reward - The book, work print, poster and flexidisc, copies of Lewis Bush's previous publications The Camera Obscured, City of Dust and Metropole, and a copy of the Shadows of the State dummy book.The dummy book was designed, hand bound and the cover screen printed by Lewis Bush during the making of Shadows of the State. Only seven exist, of which two are held in institutional collections and three are retained by the photographer. The remaining two will be available as part of this reward.
By the halfway date of this campaign we had already raised nearly 150% of our goal, so we have introduced a stretch goal of £16,500. If we reach this the extra money raised will allow us to expand the book's print up to 1000 copies, reaching a wider audience, and also to make the accompanying website significantly more ambitious. Read more about this in our recent update.
Press and Social Media
Lewis's past photography projects and writing have been published in Wired, Dezeen, Vice, The Daily Telegraph, American Suburb X, The Nation, World Press Photo Witness, 1000 Words Magazine, The British Journal of Photography, Photomonitor, BBC News, Timeout, Harvard Design Magazine, Vice, Hyperallergic, Hotshoe, Fotografia, Failed Architecture, Svenska Dagbladet, It's Nice That, B&W Photography Magazine, Tmrw Magazine, Featureshoot and more.
Press for Shadows of the State so far:
Thanks for reading and a huge thanks to all those who have supported or been involved in the project so far.
Risks and challenges
Shadows of the State is complete, all imagery and text is produced and the book has been designed. It's simply a matter of printing and distributing it. While there are always challenges involved in a publishing project, Lewis and Tom have both overseen the production and publication of a number of book projects before and have a good understanding of the processes and challenges involved.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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