Guy Bourdin

French Vogue, Charles Jourdan, September 1979

Guy Bourdin

Fujiflex crystal archive print

88.9 x 118.1 cm

Guy Bourdin, born in Paris in 1928, was the pioneering fashion photographer whose arresting photographs filled the pages of French Vogue for three decades from the 1950s through to the 80s. He is notorious for breaking the boundaries of traditional commercial photography and reshaping the classic fashion picture, using a daring narrative and vibrant colour palette. Vogue’s editor introduced Bourdin to the shoe designer Charles Jourdan, for whom he became the brand's official advertising photographer, producing some of his best images during this period. The beauty in many of his pictures is that you can see small imperfections and fine details such as the models' pores. In this respect they hold an integrity that is rarely seen today.
In 1950, Guy Bourdin met Man Ray and became his protégé. The spirit of the Surrealists is ever-present in Bourdin's work: we see this in the dream-like quality of his pictures and the artist's use of uncanny juxtapositions. Taking photography as his medium of choice, Bourdin explored the provocative and the sublime with a relentless perfectionism and sharp humour. He captured the imagination of a generation, and yet his images have a timeless quality, so much so that they continue to influence the worlds of fashion and advertising today, twenty years since his death.

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