FlashBak: Historical Photographer – Guy Bourdin

Guy Bourdin History of Fashion Photography

FlashBak: Historical Photographer – Guy Bourdin

I was introduced the Guy Bourdin through my last post about Mert & Marcus. They have stated that Bourdin was one of their main sources of inspiration. I hadn’t looked at any of Bourdin’s work prior to their mentioning of him so I took some time to look him up. All I can say is that his work was not what I was expecting.

In the spirit of art and expression, I will let his work speak for itself:

2 green_dress 3 ladies_in_red 4 calves_head 5 black_dress 6 lighting_cigarette 7 shower8 walking_wall

My initial reaction is confusion when I look at Bourdin’s work. His images are classified as fashion but it does not conform to most fashion images of his time. The height of his career was in the 1970’s & 1980’s and I do see elements of society at the time. He also worked primarily for French Vogue and the French aesthetic is apparent in his work.

As I researched deeper into Guy Bourdin’s life and work I found a great article that summarized my feelings towards his work. “Guy Bourdin presented fashion as the luxurious embellishment rather than the subject of his photographs. He magnified to centre stage dark fantasies of lust, consumption and desire.” [1]

The same site explains his work as “both brilliant and unsettling.” That combination of words summarizes my feelings exactly. I find his work risky and extravagant as well as unnerving. It is raw. I understand that his work will not and did not appeal to the masses but it was an expression of fashion through his eyes, which is something that I appreciate in art. If we cannot find our own unique voice then we are not fulfilling our purpose as artists.

I only showed a few of his pieces of work, but an entire site has been dedicated to multiple portfolios of his work. To see them visit this link: [X]

Please feel free to leave your thoughts on Bourdin’s work and if/how it inspires you.  I would love feedback from my readers!  Art is all about collaboration and working together to find something greater.

Until next time, live your dreams and may passion never die!


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