The beauty industry is no stranger to scrutiny and scorn, and now photographer Jackson Bowley is getting in on the action by releasing the first issue of his magazine, CIRCUS. As a self-described “beauty” photographer (with beauty pointedly in quotes) based in London, Bowley found himself disillusioned by so much of the industry he worked within. So much so that he conceived of a publication that would act as the ultimate antidote.
“CIRCUS Magazine is a bold, bright, chaotic, stressful, sickly, loud, scrappy and stupid beauty publication that creates and celebrates the absurd,” Bowley writes on the CIRCUS site. Curated by Bowley from contributions made by a range of artists from various corners of the fashion and editorial industries, the magazine is physically cumbersome and ungainly, composed of 20 A1-sized (roughly 23.5”x33”) folded-up posters so that the magazine is purposefully awkward to leaf through. New Zealand designer Roydon Misseldine created the CIRCUS logo and magazine layout.
The collection of offset printed posters portrays garish images that subvert and make a playful commentary on beauty industry tropes, each created in response to the loose theme of “circus” provided by Bowley. Such graphics include long bejeweled toenails dialing telephones, smeared clown-like make-up on the backside of car seats, and colorful designs painted on the soles of bare feet. While unsettling and even disturbing at times, joy and spunky flair radiate from the absurdly charming artwork.
This inaugural issue of CIRCUS is available for £20 through its website but is currently out of stock. While there’s no information about a second issue just yet, I think it’s safe to assume something wacky is surely in the works.