Guy Louis Bourdin was born in Paris in 1928. After receiving some photography training as a French Airforce cadet whilst serving in Dakar (1948-1949), Bourdin returned to Paris where he met Man Ray, who quickly adopted the young Bourdin as his protégé.
Exhibiting under the pseudonym Edwin Hallan in his early career, Bourdin developed a signature style that built provocative, exotic, surreal and sometimes sinister narratives around a brand. It was not long until the prodigiously talented photographer became recognised and began working for French Vogue. Demanding complete editorial control, Bourdin focused on creating hyper real landscapes that obsess over the themes of desire, sex and fetish’s. Exceedingly risque for the time, Bourdin’s success lay in his ability to intertwine these themes into his photography whilst maintaining a contrast to the model, who retained the perfectly glamorous look the fasjion establishment had come to expect. As a result of this unique marriage, Bourdin is now being considered as one of the most visionary and important photographer’s in fashion history.
Although, as is so often the case, Bourdin led a tortured personal life; he was abandoned as a child, suffered through the suicide of his wife and two of his girlfriends and was well known to be unpredictable in his treatment towards the models in his care. With this in mind, it is easy to see where the inspiration to present fashion photographs as stills from a horror movie might have come from….
Regardless, having just found these wonderful and terrifying images, my moustache and I thought you too may be interested:
All Photos ©Guy Bourdin
- NARS x Guy Bourdin (libertyandfox.com)