The first issue of Pan & the Dream introduces themes of nudity and censorship, looking at how social media has impacted which images we now deem to be acceptable. It reacts brazenly to online limits with vast 280x370mm pages laid thick with photographs, paintings and sketches of every part of the human anatomy.
The issue theme, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ (stitched onto the cover like a garment label, above), is a direct reaction to Instagram’s ‘no nipple’ policy, which means that any photograph of a woman’s nipple, whatever the context, is immediately removed from the platform. Pan & the Dream’s editor, whose professional name as a stylist mirrors that of the magazine, reclaims some of this power by introducing each contributor as a friend met through the social media site.
The magazine is abeautiful object, produced and art directed by Paul Belford. Its collection of artful images includes Nadav Kander’s series ‘Bodies’, which is made up of naked, whitewashed, often faceless portraits that reflect Renaissance art (above). Other highlights include artist and photographer Shae Detar’s dreamlike pictures; deconstructed photographs that are embellished and veiled over with primary colours (below), and Isabel Reitemeyer’s cover image.
Legendary fashion photographer Nick Knight is one of the magazine’s main contributors, opening the issue with a foreword that draws on his experience of nudity in the fashion industry. His photograph ‘David’; a vagina splayed across the page, is one of the issue’s most striking and defiant works.
Where the magazine falls short is in its limited perspective. Although the issue is carried through by its stunning imagery, it is lacking in rich content, and its interviews fail to explore any implications of nudity other than social media censorship. Perhaps where it is most short-sighted though, is in its narrow representation; you would be hard-pressed to find a body in the magazine that does not meet Western standards of beauty. Hopefully its next issue won’t be quite as whitewashed as Kander’s nudes.
Editor: Pan & the Dream
Art director: Paul Belford