Originally from Nottingham, Jackson moved to London to study on Central Saint Martin’s Culture, Criticism and Curation course, graduating in 2017. Since then, Bowley has been working as a beauty photographer and has shot for titles including Office, Twin and i-D, among others. His work is typified by an innate sense of humour and the lack of seriousness that is so often overlooked within fashion and beauty photography. Jackson calls this “a reaction to beauty photography,” in the way that his work “is very bright, in your face, happy and not sexual at all.” Circus essentially serves as a collaborative extension of this, bringing together like-minded contributors whose work also pushes this theme of folly. It’s a “very loud, bright and chaotic publication.”
Circus is part of a new generation of publications alongside the likes of Buffalo Zine that are centred around an introspective humour that is notably missing from traditional fashion print. It aims to be a “huge injection of fun” into an industry that can feel monotonous and overproduced. In other words, it artfully takes the piss. Featuring a huge range of artists from recent CSM Fashion Communication and Promotion graduate Stephanie Francis-Shanahan to set designer Rory Mullen. The thread that sews the body of work together: a shared wittiness at a time when “the world’s feeling pretty bleak.”
Circus is the absolute antithesis of the boredom that led Bowley to create it. We spoke to Jackson about the trials and tribulations of putting together his own publication, and his advice for those looking to follow in his footsteps.