My PhotoHeros #1 - Guy Bourdin, Fashion Photographer

April 27, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

©Guy BourdinCharles Jourdan Shoes

Guy Bourdin was one of my early inspirations in photography. And still is; whenever I revisit his work I am knocked out by his extraordinary compositional skills, his impeccable colour sense and his often bizarre but always fascinating concepts. His ability to work up an abstract, often erotic idea and still keep things razor-clean, balanced to perfection and with an outrageous sense of colour have deeply influenced my own approach to photography. Not that I have ever sought to copy - but when you are taken with an artist's work it is inevitable some of it will rub off on you by creative osmosis. And not that I have had a career in fashion either, except for the first few years of my photographic life when, like most young male photographers, I was in it for the girls.... but that's another story! Bourdin himself cited his own influences, including Man Ray, Magritte, Balthus and Luis Bunuel.

©Guy BourdinCharles Jourdan Shoes

Bourdin was a pioneer in fashion photography. He would devise a concept, a story, a scene, which was usually provocative and often with sexual undertones, shoot the picture and then simply ascribe a fashion brand or label to that picture. He had no time for the accepted convention of actually "showing off" the clothes - the picture itself was the thing, the fashion incidental. And fashion mags went crazy for it. Clients included Vogue, Harpers, Chanel, Versace, Ungaro and Pentax. Yep, Pentax - the camera of choice for discerning photographers... ;-) (I was obviously more influenced by him than I thought!). His longtime campaign for Charles Jourdan was perhaps his most famous, and in many ways his most outrageous. There's never been another like Bourdin in my opinion (although David La Chapelle is a close contender, albeit far more campy in his approach). Thanks Guy, for teaching me about composition and colour and the incredibly graphic possibilities of photography.

©Guy BourdinCharles Jourdan Shoes


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