Sex, Drugs & Magick (Book Two)
Gareth McConnell


  • Photographed, sequenced & designed by Gareth McConnell
  • Text by Matthew Collin author of ‘Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House’
  • Edition of 523
  • 152 pages
  • Softcover with dust-jacket
  • 9.4 x 11.8 in / 24 x 30 cm
  • ISBN: 978-0-9575573-4-5
  • Signed by the artist


In this new photographic art book Gareth McConnell continues to revisit his photographs of young visitors to Ibiza – a well known series of McConnell’s, which is characterised by a more subtle understanding of his subjects than just the usual ones of sex, drugs and sunny hedonism. McConnell is a highly respected photographer, known for great technical ability. However, in this new book has reworked his studies as defiantly low-tech monochromes, with an exaggerated emphasis on reprographic redundancy, and a pleasure in the failures of vintage reprographic techniques. It’s as much, if not more, about photography and print themselves, as it is about its subjects.

McConnell has always had a poetic sensibility, situated in alignment with acute skills of documentary observation. Here, he transcends documentary orderliness, gathering his images into a darkened, narrative unity, so that they become servants of an ominous, low-lying mood. It’s the disturbed calm of heavy, electrically charged, pre-storm weather, or the ambiguous twilight of the awakening reveller – the reveller who does not know if the birds are singing for morn, or for eve.


* Accompanied by a new, informed essay by Matthew Collin, author of ‘Altered State: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House’

* McConnell’s title is an appropriation of Robert Anton Wilson’s eponymous counter culture classic.

* McConnell’s first book to feature his Ibiza work was published by Steidl in 2004, with an essay by Neal Brown

* Strictly limited edition of 523.


1. Thou shalt not force thy neighbor to alter his consciousness.

2. Thou shalt not prevent thy neighbor from altering his consciousness. *

‘The government, which violates the second of these commandments every day, is now beginning to violate the first, forcing students in some schools to take Ritalin, an amphetamine – like drug that quiets unruly children but may have side effects not yet known. It is likely, given the general character of governments, that similar violations will multiply beyond all our guesses when bureaucrats discover that they have such delightful new toys as drugs that will reduce whole populations to perpetual childhood, decrease their aggressive rebelliousness, stunt their alertness and generally turn them into the drones described by Aldous Huxley in his Brave New World. The heretic of the 21st Century might be, not a man who takes a drug the government forbids, but a man who refuses a drug the government commands.’

Robert Anton Wilson (final paragraph from Sex, Drugs & Magick, 1987)

*Timothy Leary