The renowned fashion photographer and artist Guy Bourdin is getting the largest UK retrospective of his work this winter, untitled Guy Bourdin: Image Maker.
The exhibition displayed a selection of more than 100 colour prints, featuring a variety of previously unseen materials, from paintings to notebooks, and a pick of Super-8 films that underscore Bourdin’s revolutionary work in fashion film, ranging from his late 1950s-1990s fashion shoots for Vogue.
Guy Bourdin’s mysterious, and often subversive, works became influential in advertising and fashion for their strong psychological impact and the creation of a sense of desire, even if not for the objects being advertised.
Guy Bourdin was born in Paris in 1928. He was a protégé of American photographer and surrealist artist Man Ray, who was a important artist in both Dada and surrealist movements, but Bourdin would developed his own distinct style. Bourdin’s photography was revolutionary for the time, more then selling the products he would creating a story around them, his advertisement work became the focus of attraction.
in 1955, Bourdin made his first professional first appearance with Vogue Paris, which was the foundation stone in his career – a publication for French shoe label, Charles . Bourdin’s impressive images for Jourdan campaign were truly surreal, a strange combination of both real women, or mannequin legs wearing elegant heels, seen in the seductive form of the woman in a red dress and shoes standing on a ladder.
In the 1970s Francine Crescent was the editor of Vogue Paris , the magazine was a global leader in fashion photography.
Crescent was interested in images that provoke a reader’s curiosity, and to entertain and indeed shock their sensibilities. Visually bold, Crescent’s Vogue was ”the monthly ‘must-see’ for anyone young and working in fashion, advertising or graphic design.”
Francine Crescent ,managed to offer complete creative freedom to Guy Bourdin and another evenly significant photographer, Helmut Newton.
Bourdin’s singularity was to not present products in a typically safe manner instead, he provokes consumer desire through the use of a distinct narrative.
Guy Bourdin’s images at that time ”made Vogue Paris the most exciting fashion magazine in the world.”
In this exhibition the images on display are certainly striking: form disembodied legs wearing elegant shoes skip lightly across urban streetscapes, semi-clad women lie splayed or languorously draped across furniture in anonymous, moody interiors or merge with the landscape, and arachnoids conglomerations of legs without bodies appear both menacing and seductive.