Guy Bourdin  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Guy Bourdin (born December 2 1928 in Paris, died March 29 1991 of cancer in Paris) was one of the best known photographers of fashion and advertising of the second half of the 20th century. His themes included sex, death, violence, glamour and fear. Amongst others, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Nick Knight and David LaChapelle have admitted to be great admirers of his work.


He worked for Vogue magazine from 1955 onwards for roughly 30 years.

His work for Vogue, together with another Seventies famous fashion photographer, Helmut Newton defied the standards, ideas and theories about fashion photography in general.

Both used strong themes, including themes such as sex, death, violence, glamour and fear, to provoke a new way of looking at man in general.

During their working years for Vogue they were given unlimited artistic freedom.

Bourdin did advertising work for the Charles Jourdan shoe company. His quirky crime scene ads were greatly recognized and always muchly awaited by the media.

In the last years, Guy Bourdin has been hailed as one of the greatest fashion photographers of all time and his son, Samuel Bourdin, released a book with the finest prints of his father's work, called "Exhibit A".

He has been an influence on many artists, and continues to be so until this very day.

Madonna's 2003 music video for Hollywood was greatly influenced by the photography of Bourdin, so much so that a lawsuit was brought on against her by Bourdin's son for copyright infringement.

Amongst others, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Nick Knight and David LaChapelle have admitted to be great admirers of his work.

A fantastical biographical documentary program was shown for the BBC in 1991 (Dreamgirls: The photographs of Guy Bourdin). So few fashion icons like Helmut Newton and Jean-Baptiste Mondino played a crucial role talking about the way that Bourdin managed his own way to do fashion photography. In this program the spectator also can grasp the complex universe around the pictures of Bourdin.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Guy Bourdin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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