This week I went to the Guy Bourdin exhibition at Somerset House, it started on Nov 25th and runs for a few months.
It was held in a section at Somerset House I had not seen an exhibition before, not that I am a frequent visitor, I average 2 a year.
I am a big admirer of Guy Bourdin’s work, not just because of the angles and compositions he used, but even more for his uncompromising attitude towards his crew and clients regarding his overall delivery of the final image(s). In short his will was King and not many people managed to have him change his mind regarding the final image.
The work he did for Charles Jourdan was displayed in a long corridor, and tastefully lit. Moving images were shown in three sections with projection, and then there was his own art work (drawings and paintings)where it shows that he planned his images carefully. His b&w work was strong in contrast, which would be way too much for the current fashion mags stable, yet two spreads from the mid 70’s for French and British Vogue stood the test of time, due to its cinematic and above all timeless influence, classic shots indeed.
What I did miss was his work for French Harpers Bazaar and The Best magazine which concluded his career, certainly not his most ground breaking work, but I see no reason why it was not shown.
There was talk that his material was collected in 30 odd garbage bags and meant to be destroyed after his death, whether this is true or not who knows, assuming that it is one could only wonder what he might have thought of this retrospective at Somerset House. I recommend everyone who is into great fashion photography to splash out £9.00 and see it and marvel at the fantastic work Guy Bourdin produced.
The world definitely got more boring after he left this planet.
I attach a few pix I shot with my iPhone, but also an article I managed to dig up from American Photographer (later re-branded as American Photo) from 1989 with a fantastic portrait by Chip Simons.