Writing on photography


noun, plural hi·a·tus·es, hi·a·tus.
1555–65; < Latin hiātus  opening, gap, equivalent to hiā ( re ) to gape, open + -tus  suffix of v. action

In the three years since I started Disphotic it has grown far more than I could have imagined. For a long time the sight of another new name on the list of subscribers was a pleasure, and it still is an honour to know people are that interested in what I write. Writing for Disphotic has shaped the direction of my thought, photography and career in unexpected ways and opened innumerable doors for me, and for that I have my readers and everyone who has shared or commented on my pieces, to thank.

And yet although I’ve always insisted I wasn’t particularly swayed by the growing audience, I must now admit that I knew that this claim was a little bit more of a lie each time I wrote it. I feel increasingly aware of the psychic weight of those names when I sit down to write. Each new one has started to feel like another stone placed on to someone who has been condemned to death by peine forte et dure, but in my case it feels not so much like a punishment for saying too little, but for saying too much.

I feel ever more acutely the pressure to continue to write and to write particular things, and I tend to judge the success of what I write by how my audience responds to it, not how I really feel about it. The form of what I write correspondingly changes, and often not for the better. Writing a blog is a very particularly type of writing, like all forms it has it’s strengths, and it has it’s weaknesses, but it’s not all that I want to do with my writing, not by a long shot. I have many ideas which could never be given voice here.

These feelings also cascade into my growing sense of disquiet about the amount of material I feel compelled to put online. Although in some ways I’ve always been proud to share my work, I’m tired of giving away everything I write and make for similar reasons. The judgement of the work becomes the way it is received, supplanting my own feelings about it’s relative success or failure. This in turn shapes the form of subsequent projects in ways which can be positive, but more often are not.

And lastly, perhaps most importantly I feel increasingly that I’m at a crossroads in life. I feel like I need to make some serious decisions about where I go next both as a writer and photographer, perhaps as both. Finding answers to these questions is made less easy by the feelings outlined above, and I must do anything I can to temper them.

This isn’t goodbye for good, I’ll still be lurking on Twitter and Tumblr and I’ll continue updating Disphotic’s Facebook page with new pieces of my writing when they appear in other places. It wouldn’t surprise me if I soon return here to post new things from time to time, when a subject bites me in the right way, I just won’t be keeping to anything like the old schedule. All that remains is to say thanks for reading, thanks for the support, the shares and everything else. Hope we do it again sometime.

About the author

Lewis Bush

Lewis Bush works across different media and platforms to make structures and cultures of power visible. He has exhibited, published, and spoken about his work internationally, is acting course leader of MA photojournalism and documentary photography at University of the Arts London, and runs workshops from his studio in London. From September 2020 he will be an ESRC funded PhD candidate at the London School of Economics researching automation's impact on visual journalism.

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Writing on photography