The often surreal nature of French fashion photographer Guy Bourdin’s work is unsurprising considering he started his career as a protégé of Man Ray in Paris in the 1950’s
The sense of experimentation that you see in Man Ray’s work was evident in the fashion imagery created by Bourdin for clients such as Charles Jourdan, Chanel and Issey Miyake.
It’s what gives his work a distinctive and humorous edge entirely lacking from most of the po-faced fashion work on offer these days.
Looking at these images I can’t imagine Bourdin being too much of a hit with feminists and indeed he was rumored to be rather cruel to his models, a fact linked by many an amateur psychologist with his abandonment by his mother.
His wife and two of his girlfriends committed suicide and there is sense of the sinister in his pictures that lurks just below the surface.
Often compared with Helmet Newton I find them only similar in their taste for controversy but both have a singular vision that marks out their work from their contemporaries.