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Desert Companion

An American Artist in Britain

When a young Diane Bush left Vietnam-era America for Britain at age 18, she couldn’t know she’d be, in her way, among a photography vanguard — first woman in the Exit photography collective, invited to group shows in prestigious galleries. In particular, she overcame her shyness to shoot a series of street images and intimate people studies. While that work didn’t disappear after her return to the U.S. — it was exhibited in the former Brett Wesley Gallery in 2011 — Bush, now a well-known Las Vegas artist, is seeing those images gain a new and more permanent life. The Brits: England in the 1970s is a selection of those early photographs compiled into a short, high-quality, zine-like publication by England’s Café Royal Books. “Zine-like” is somewhat misleading: Like all of Café Royal’s publications, Bush notes, it’s going into the collections at the Tate, Victoria & Albert, and other British museums. It’s the first of as many as three such planned booklets documenting Bush’s British work. “I always thought eventually someone would be interested,” she says. But the occasion isn’t stoking any nostalgia for street photography. “I’m never gonna do that again,” she says.  “You can’t go home again.”

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