Fashion Photographer Guy Bourdin’s Retrospective


Though less well known to the general public than Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton, the late French photographer Guy Bourdin is a legend amongst fashion photographers in particular for his ability to bridge the gap between fashion and fine-art photography producing arresting images that often had a surreal quality. “Guy Bourdin: Image-Maker,” opening at Somerset House in late November, will feature over 100 works from 1955‑1987, charting his career from a protégé of Man Ray to revolutionary photographer with numerous editorials for Vogue and advertising campaigns for the likes of shoemaker Charles Jourdan.

His distinctive style of visual storytelling often stirred carnal desires and was sometimes viewed as morbid as the photographer liked to show his models without motion. A highlight of the exhibition will be his ‘Walking Legs’ series — a campaign commissioned by Charles Jourdan in 1979 that focussed on legs — presented for the first time its entirety and accompanied by an accompanying fashion film that only very few people have seen before.

Curated by Alistair O’Neill with Shelly Verthime, the exhibition will also present a range of Super-8 movies Bourdin made on location at photo shoots, as well as a selection of paintings, working drawings, sketches, and notebooks all of which informed his approach to composition.

Running November 27‑March 15 at Somerset House, London.

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