Dreaming Is Heavy Metal is a limited edition artist's book published by Soft Opening gallery.
Explaining how the work in the book came about, American photographer Grace Ahlbom writes: "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 artefacts to memorialise 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."
Published in an edition of 300.
softcover, square backed, 29 x 24 cm, 34 pages, 4-colour plates, designed by Ben Ganz, 2018
Grace Ahlbom (b. 1993, San Francisco, CA) is an American photographer based in New York, NY. Ahlbom received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Pratt Institute in 2016.