Guy Bourdin

© Estate of Guy Bourdin. Reproduced by permission of Art + Commerce.

“There were naked men and women, only showing their backs or their backsides to the camera, sitting down. […] The subject chosen was far from anything that might have interested us at Vogue, but the quality of the work was exceptional,” recalls Edmonde Charles-Roux, former director of Vogue. Guy Bourdin infused an entirely innovative tone and gaze, as well as a certain insolence, into the world of fashion advertising campaigns. His highly “polished” images present scenes that are troubling, provocative and enigmatic all at once, without ever being crude. The models, often naked or scantily clad, pose in provocative positions amid strange or highly erotic decors and accessories. The lighting is stark and the colours are saturated.

Guy Bourdin learned photography during his military service and exhibited drawings and paintings in a Parisian gallery from the age of 22. In 1951, he met Man Ray, who wrote a preface for the catalogue of his first photographic exhibition the following year. His first fashion photos were published in 1955 in Vogue, the magazine that Bourdin later worked for until 1987. In 1967, he also collaborated with Harper’s Bazaar and had pictures published in the magazine Photo. His advertising campaigns for shoemaker Charles Jourdan earned him recognition from the general public. He died in 1991, three years after receiving the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in New York.



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