Everyone who is in any way connected with art or fashion, the name of Guy Bourdin is associated with a bright, almost caustic surrealism, implicated in female sexuality and sophisticated cruelty. The world in which the model became an animated mannequin, Bourdin reduced to a decorative absolute, depriving him of pretentiousness. In his photographs there is nothing superfluous, the plots are often built around the usual way of life, however, they are fascinating and endowed with a specific pathos of objectivity. He has countless covers, advertising campaigns, from Versace to Loewe, and dozens of passionate followers. Guy Bourdin was born in 1928, he was soon adopted because his parents were too young and broke up quickly, later became interested in cycling and painting, and when he was in the Air Force, he knew the mystery of photography and forever enclosed it in his heart, if it’s he was: his mother left him, very small, without thinking about the fate of the boy.
Young Bourdain worked as a seller of photo equipment, washed dishes and ran a courier in the US embassy, saved money for necessary equipment and manically tracked beauty in its everyday manifestations. All this was accompanied by painting. Once he met the great surrealist Man Ray and, being a sincere fan of his work, he touched the master with his burning zeal to photograph. So, Man Ray made young Bourdain his protégé, helped and patronized him in everything, and soon helped in the opening of his personal exhibition. It did not take so long for Bourdain to become a recognized genius of photography. His specific vision, an eccentric approach to shooting and a unique game with color made Guy a welcome guest in all glossy publications, and in his work he enjoyed complete freedom and permissiveness.
Today, Bourdin could be condemned hundreds of times for rough treatment of models, submission to their cruel conditions and even some kind of objectification: he tied his models, put them into unimaginable poses, strangled, drowned, and generally mopped up in every way.
Nevertheless, despite the ambiguity of Bourdin’s methods, the pictures he created capture his eyes, and women do not cause pity, but admiration for their courage, beauty and sharp sexuality. It is difficult to determine to the end whether the great master viewed a woman as an object of fetish or an art tool, however, along with the “materialization” of the paintings created by Bourdain, something more disturbing flows – and magic is born in the interweaving of this anxiety with beauty.
Bourdain was obsessed with filming and, immersed in the process, received complete satisfaction from him, not particularly caring as a result of prestige and popularity. However, his work quickly became monstrously popular, and the secret is hidden in this circulation: the photographer seemed to play on the eternal desire of people to look at incidents and terrifying scenes. For shoe designer Charles Jourdain, Bourdain shot an advertising campaign: in the frame there is a car, a silhouette of a woman who had obviously suffered a car accident, circled with chalk on the pavement, and shoes by Charles Jourdan lying nearby. Interaction with the dark corners of the human soul made Bourdain not just a cult master of fashion photography, where he destroyed all the frames, but a genius – a little evil, but true.
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