Dreaming is Heavy Metal / Grace Ahlbom
"I tend to romanticize the handwork, labor-intensive and traditional printing of photography. This has been my greatest indulgence of that romance and my most experimental body of work from the color darkroom. Pin-holes cut from cardboard, shining a flashlight through it for a fraction of a second. Imagery that I found from fanzines, brought into the darkroom and made into cyanotypes. Shrines, relics, and fan culture have long possessed a magnetic intrigue for me. On a trip to Norway, I happened upon a record shop that ignited my curiosity about the fanaticism of the black metal scene. The record shop’s basement had been converted into a museum of artifacts to memorialize the place where emerging Norwegian black metal bands met during the 1990s. The walls were plastered floor to ceiling with an encroaching collection of countless records, t-shirts, CDs, and props from photo shoots. Not dissimilar to my own basement, which serves not only as an archive of my adolescence, but the fantasy these objects seemed to hold for me at the time.
Aside from shooting the interior of the store, I bought a few fanzines that later became source material for a series of cyanotype prints. Many of the works take their titles from a written manifesto I found in the basement and alongside the portraits I took later, reflect my own participation in the fandom. I wanted to have my own take on playing dress up and performing for the camera. I had Lukas Ionesco and Joe Skilton run around London exactly how they normally would, but with black metal makeup on. Both Ionesco and Skilton have been muses of mine for a few years now. I have managed to incorporate them into almost every project since meeting them. This consistency has allowed for the formation of a special connection and trust, and as a result of that unique relationship, I’ve watched my work, Ionesco, and Skilton coevolve." —Grace Ahlbom
Designed by Benjamin Ganz
Published by Soft Opening, 2018
Printed in a limited edition of 300 copies
Softcover, 24 pages, 4 color printing, 9.5 × 11.5 inches