“A lot of my friends and colleagues who work in the fashion and photography industry have always felt at the mercy of the larger magazines, it’s a strained and one-sided relationship which frequently lets down the people who work hard (and spend their own money) to make their content,” states designer and publisher Jamie Allan Shaw. In response to the numerous stories of editorials being cut short in favour of a celebrity photographer or an endorsement, Jamie decided to offer an alternative in the form of Enlarge Your Memories.
Enlarge Your Memories is, first and foremost, a large format magazine. Each issue is devoted to one editorial fashion story produced through a close collaboration between fashion designers and photographers. Issue one was released at the end of 2017 and showcased the work of designer Phillip J Ellis, depicted by photographer Yann Faucher and model Suzi Leenaars.
To further his hope of creating a platform free from the constraints of the editorial system, Jamie is hosting the first Enlarge Your Memories exhibition, titled Fever Dreams opening 8 March at Webber Gallery in London. The exhibition – which will remain open until 16 March – spotlights four young photographers (Grace Ahlbom, Molly Matalon, Jean-Vincent Simonet and Dexter Lander) whose practices “oscillate and vibrate”. As part of the Fever Dreams, Jamie will also be hosting a talk with Molly and Dexter on Saturday 10 March.
Originally from Yorkshire, Jamie studied in Glasgow but has been based in London for the past five years. We caught up with the curator, editor and designer ahead of next week’s opening to find out more about Enlarge Your Memories and what to expect from Fever Dreams.
After your first issue of Enlarge Your Memories, why did you decide to hold an exhibition?
Something that I’ve always wanted to establish with Enlarge Your Memories is that I have a firm foot in photography and the other in fashion editorial. The ethos and space which I’m trying to create should lend itself just as easily to the wall of a gallery as it does the page of a magazine or book.
Where did the name Fever Dreams come from?
The name for the show actually came from a friend who was really ill at the time. He reminded me how fever dreams are really intense and jump between vivid memories that are full of visual and non-visual triggers.
How and why did you choose each of the photographers and could you tell us a bit more about the work they are exhibiting?
Each artist has been given a six-metre space to explore a section of work, they can show anything in any manner and this way it provides exactly the same opportunity the magazine does. The show is curated in a way that lets each artist do their own thing, but what ties them together is this “vivid visual fluidity” that is present in each artist’s practice.
Most contemporary photographers have to be more versatile with their work now, by developing a personal practice which can jump between art, portraiture, commerce and fashion. The work ends up spending more time between these genres, effectively creating a new one. The result is photography which can fit into many different places and also work that is centric to a developed, personal way of working which the artist has had to spend time developing. It’s this type of work that interests me the most, so each artist I have picked I feel has this certain quality.
Molly, for example, has a very clear idea. Her work deals with desire, idealisation, and power dynamics, flexing a gaze that empowers and provides a rarely seen female photographic viewpoint. She is very present in all of her images, you are always able to be in her shoes.
Dexter has created his own visual language which allows humour and sincerity to broaden the scope of what it means for a person to wear things on their body, he’s working with the brilliant Ib Kamara on some new work for the show but you’ll have to come to the show to see it!
Grace uses photography and sculpture to open conversations surrounding narrative and replication. She uses photography, sculpture, and mixed-media installations to highlight the specific practices of certain gendered sub-cultures and her own position within them. A combination of raw content with a highly technical, polished process brings a sense of familiarity that makes you empathise and reminisce.
Jean-Vincent has a practice most easily associated with lucidity. Analogue pictures, digital techniques, collages and montages melt together with remarkable fluidity. Defined by overcharge, overflow and sliding, bodies and places, nature and artificiality all come together. His idea for the show was the boldest, and he was certainly excited to be given an opportunity to work as freely as he normally does within the walls of a gallery like Webber.
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.