According to the magazine, Issue 1: The Emperor’s New Clothes acts as “a statement defying the current wave of commercial puritanism and the mishandling of censorship in social media”.
Its intention is to both counter and reflect upon the ways in which the human body is perceived (and censored) on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
“It is not nudity in and of itself that is interesting, but rather the context and the message which the image carries,” Pan & The Dream states on panandthedreammag.com.
The debut issue features art, illustration and photography by a range of image-makers such as Petra Börner, Benoit Delhomme, Yvonne Gold, Tanya Linney and Isabel Reitemeyer, and includes interviews with Nadav Kander, Ken Schles, Nick Knight and Jock Sturges.
This is all deftly woven together by Belford, who has used just the Didot and Futura typefaces throughout the magazine – with section openers given supersized treatments.
“Each artist portrays the nude differently, however they all respond to the question of nudity in art and its suppression in the mediatised world,” say Pan & The Dream. “Whether the body is a dreamy representation or a graphic photograph, these images are not always what they appear to be at first glance.”
Certainly, there is some great artwork in this debut issue and challenging the censorial models of the giants of social media is an interesting intent. Yet there is also a notable and surprising lack of diversity across the pages, which is something of an oversight.
Similarly, while Kander’s 2013 series Bodies features one male subject – and men enter the frame in Stephen DiRado’s series of Martha’s Vineyard beach images – the main focus in The Emperor’s New Clothes is overwhelmingly the female form.
No doubt this allies with where social media’s censoring largely falls (see Facebook’s infamous ‘nipple’ rule), but, with over 200 pages to work with, this narrow and familiar scope veers into old-fashioned territory at times.
That said, this remains a lavish production and its existence as a high-end printed object (editions are £42 each) is surely part of its opposition to the ubiquity of online imagery – and, in particular, the kinds of images that are increasingly at the mercy of Facebook’s arbiters.
Interestingly, as Pan & The Dream reveals in its opening editorial, much of the interaction with the assembled image-makers was conducted via Instagram. But it’s in print that they have the freedom to really express themselves.
Issue 1: The Emperor’s New Clothes, features a foreword by Knight and work by over 60 artists. The magazine is printed on heavyweight uncoated paper and produced in an edition of 1,000 hand-numbered copies.
See panandthedreammag.com for stockists – the issue retails for £42