Image courtesy of Charlotte Rutherford for Circus Magazine

Trade the big top for the big page with Circus Magazine

Circus is a one-of-a-kind beauty publication that creates and celebrates the absurd. The magazine dares you to reconsider what beautiful really means while simultaneously encouraging you to tear it all apart and hang it on your wall. submission had a few questions about the magazine and sat down with editor-in-chief Jackson Bowley for a chat.


Launching on September 22nd, Circus Magazine is a new beauty magazine that explores our definition and perception of what beauty means today. Founder and beauty photographer Jackson Bowley invited an eccentric group of artists, all tasked with creating one image for the inaugural issue. 

Challenging the way creatives are typically asked to contribute with a story, he asked them to narrow their vision to one image. 

Bowley did quite a bit of research before reaching out to contributors, not only zeroing in on photographers but making sure to ask a mix of different artists that work within the beauty field. 

“It was all pretty loose at the beginning and I didn’t have too much of a plan, just a rough idea of the styles of work I wanted. I mostly reached out to people whose work I admired and that I thought was quite bizarre, funny, and engaging.” 

The theme was Circus – not to be taken too literally. Bowley asked his contributors to be encouraged to embody the energy, absurdity, noise, and stimulation of that environment. It’s an oddly unexpected vision, determined to break down our understanding of the fraught concept of beauty by bringing forward the other, the confusing and outright strange.

Image courtesy of Eamon Freeland Lily Gabrielle for Circus Magazine
Image courtesy of Erin Green for Circus Magazine

In its physical form, the magazine is made up of posters, all meant to be removed and used in the readers’ spaces instead of being left on a shelf after the initial read. As Bowley explains, he’s previously had a couple of exhibitions with his work, and seeing his images blown up in size was pretty special and definitely shaped the concept for a poster magazine. 

“At the same time, it always feels like a shame when a magazine just sits on a bookshelf once bought. I wanted Circus to be loud and in your face, so it made sense to do a poster magazine for all these reasons. People are pretty shocked when they see the actual size in front of them; it’s HUGE!”

Circus is a unique exploration of beauty – one that has resulted in a cacophony of imagery from creatures sculpted with hair, garish nail art, excessive tooth gems, and SFX Disney characters. 

Image courtesy of Janina Zais for Circus Magazine
Image courtesy of Mary-Jane Gotidoc for Circus Magazine

As for the future of Circus, it’s a one-man operation at the moment – “with a little help from my lovely friends”, Bowley points out. Once the dust settles from the launch and accompanying party in London at the end of this week, he hopes to get to work on a second issue for a possible springtime launch. 

“Hopefully, everyone has enough wall space for future issues, haha.” Naturally, he’s already lined up some exciting future collaborators in his mind, and we at submission are already ecstatic to see more.

Image courtesy of Lynski for Circus Magazine
Image courtesy of Yusuke Morioka for Circus Magazine