Xerox by Jackson Bowley juxtaposes glossy beauty portraits with gritty texture and tone
- Ruby Boddington
- 25 July 2018
“I think subconsciously, and when I really reflect on my photos, my photography tends to be a bit of a projection of my mood,” explains London-based photographer, Jackson Bowley. Originally from the outskirts of Nottingham, Jackson has developed a strong beauty portfolio, shooting for the likes of Notion, i-D, Wonderland and Beauty Papers but it was his evolving personal project, Xerox which really caught our eye.
Jackson first got interested in photography at age 15. “I got really obsessed with cameras as objects and used to buy loads online and in charity shops, use them for a week or two and then throw them into the back of my wardrobe,” he recalls. As the years passed, his skills progressed. He found himself developing colour film in his bathroom, and experimenting with different processing methods while immersed in Nottingham’s “vibrant creative scene”. “I got involved with that at quite a young age and met a lot of creative people who were really eager. That really helped me to take photography more seriously and to see it more than just a hobby. Although, my work didn’t start to properly develop until I started studying photography at college.”
Now, having graduated from Central Saint Martins’ BA Culture, Criticism and Curation course last year, and with a strong base of client work, he’s beginning to focus on more personal projects, of which Xerox is the first. “I began to shoot to a lot more personal portraits, but they never found really a place on their own,” Jackson remarks of the beginnings of the series. “Around the same time, I began playing around with different printing styles and techniques, and working out a way to add more depth and texture to my images.”
It was during this process that he stumbled upon several archives and zines that scan in old newsprints and magazine clippings, resulting in a unique texture and tone. “I thought it could be quite interesting to apply that to these personal beauty portraits, and tried it on the Xerox with way better results than I anticipated,” Jackson tells us, “You end up juxtaposing the traditionally glossy beauty image with this pretty gritty textured print, it seems a bit confused, I found it really interesting.”
The result is a series which not only showcases Jackson’s adept (and beautiful) portraiture but prompts an exploration into the technical aspects of photography, demonstrating how the treatment of an image can completely alter its reading. “A lot of my earlier work carried a sense of ennui and restlessness which were strong feelings I held during my time at university and shortly after. However, my more recent images are a lot more upbeat, excited, fun and confident,” he adds; a fact which is present throughout Xerox.
Although still in its early stages, the line-up of portraits in Xerox is impressive, barely scratching the surface of what the project could become. “I’m still working on and refining it,” Jackson concludes, “Eventually, I’d love to turn it into a book or have a small exhibition.”
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.