Photography

Seven seminal images by Guy Bourdin

High heels in the air, high contrast hues, debauched hotel scenes – the images of Guy Bourdin are unforgettable.

Bringing the eye of an artist to legendary campaigns from Charles Jourdan to Chanel, the French photographer created a new visual language.

An elegant curation of familiar and previously unseen images from Bourdin’s archive, with an introduction from Shelly Verthime, Guy Bourdin: Image Maker is a new book from haute publishers Assouline exploring his legacy and impact on photography.

It was back in 1950 that Bourdin first immersed himself in the world of surrealism, studying under the artist Man Ray. Five years later he would join Vogue Paris, becoming one of the magazine’s most artistic and celebrated photographers.

Taking inspiration from post-war pop culture, hyperrealist painters and the psychodrama of Hitchcock, Bourdin’s visuals hinged around rich, mysterious narratives – provocative and suggestive in tone. Shoes and fashion were presented not as traditional products, but as one part of his enigmatic, meticulously staged scenes.

Erotic, sensual and shocking in their time, Bourdin’s photographs challenged the viewer’s curiosity and imagination – purveying a dark, stylish, seedy kind of glamour. At the heart lay a sharp critique of our society’s consumption and decadence at a time when mass consumerism was invading every area of life.

A master of fantasy, his aesthetic remains as influential as ever in the digital age, proving that commercial images could be conceptual, and the unmistakable power that lies in the unseen.

Preview more images from Guy Bourdin: Image Maker below, and order the book via assouline.com

12 September 2018

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