A MESSAGE FOR YOU
Curated & written by Nicolle Meyer, Edited by Shelly Verthime
2 volumes, 312 pages, 26.5 cm x 27.5 cm,Two-foil-stamped hardcover books in case
ISBN: 3-86521-197-6. Publication date: April 2006
With the eye of a painter, Guy Bourdin created images that contained fascinating stories, compositions, and colors. Using fashion photography as his medium, he sent out his message, one that was difficult to decode, exploring the realms between the absurd and the sublime. Famed for his suggestive narratives and surreal aesthetics, he radically broke conventions of commercial photography with a relentless perfectionism and sharp humor.
Given total creative freedom and with uncompromising artistic ethic, Guy Bourdin captured the imagination of a whole generation. The late 1970s, recognized as the highest note in his career, is the focal point of this two-volume edition.
Volume I is dedicated to the legendary, nearly forgotten images and rarely seen variants, with one sole model, Nicolle Meyer. She appeared in over 30 of his famous campaigns for Charles Jourdan and in iconic French Vogue editorials. Volume II is a road trip through Bourdin’s visual landscape; a collage of images that maps his artistic search and vision. The texts, Polaroids, poems, sketches and contact sheets unfold in real time through Nicolle Meyer’s memories and captures moments of Bourdin’s work in progress.
To this day, Guy Bourdin, remains an enigma and leaves behind a provocative and compelling legacy. A Message for you examines Guy Bourdin’s oeuvre, but moreover, it provides insight into the complex workings of the photographer’s mind.
By Alison M. Gingeras, Published by Phaidon
(hardback, 128 pages, 55 photographs and a portrait, ISBN 0 7148 4303 2)
Publication date: April 2005
Price: £14.95 / €24.95
Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) was one of the greatest innovators of 20th century fashion photography. His ground-breaking images revolutionized the genre of fashion photography, mixing glamour, seduction and surrealism. This new book, Guy Bourdin, by Alison M. Gingeras published by Phaidon in April 2005, provides an overview of Bourdin’s career, presenting 55 photographs in chronological sequence. The introductory essay gives a fresh perspective on Bourdin’s life and work, including his considerable influence on the worlds of commercial and fine art photography.
Guy Bourdin worked for French Vogue for over 30 years, from 1955-1987, and his photographs filled the pages of international fashion magazines during the 1970s and 1980s in the campaigns of Charles Jourdan, Dior and Bloomingdales. Bourdin demanded and was uniquely allowed full editorial control of his work. His approach to campaigns reflected a distinct change for advertising in this period. He rejected the ‘product shot’ in favour of atmospheric, often surreal tableaux and suggestions of narrative. Bourdin was not alone in demystifying the object, but he was the most radical in his approach.
The impact of the imagery of Guy Bourdin on both commercial and fine art photography continues to resonate today. His fashion shoots are mysterious, hypnotic, surreal, exposing the true and unnerving nature of desire. He shows that, within the context of fashion, it is rarely the product that compels us. It is the image – carefully staged narrative of sexual fantasy, the quest for the unattainable, the suggestion of danger – that stimulates consumer desire.
Edited by Shelly Verthime and Charlotte Cotton
Publication: 17 April 2003 £35.00 Hardback - Amazon.com
Published to coincide with a major exhibition at the V&A
from 17 April - 17 August 2003
Guy Bourdin created the most challenging and seductive fashion photography of the last century. This book, with its breathtaking sequences of images, and in-depth essays, is the first thorough investigation of Guy Bourdins compelling visions.
The impact of the imagery of Guy Bourdin on both commercial and fine art photography continues to resonate today. Bourdin made radical changes both in the style and the meaning of commercial imagery. His fashion shoots are mysterious, hypnotic, surreal, exposing the true and unnerving nature of desire. He shows that, within the context of fashion it is rarely the product that compels us. It is the image the carefully staged narrative of sexual fantasy, the quest for the unattainable, the suggestion of danger that stimulates consumer desire.
Guy Bourdin was born in 1928 and spent much of his youth living in post-war Paris. An assiduous observer of culture, he showed precocious artistic talent and fierce ambition. From seeking out Man Ray to taking his portfolio of photographic nudes to French Vogue in 1954, Bourdin showed his determination to not only create but to have an audience. He would go on to work for French Vogue, supplying their most confrontational editorial images for over thirty years. His ingenuous advertisements for Charles Jourdan shoes and Bloomingdales in the mid 1970s were the high points of his career and landmarks in the field of advertising.
The images chosen for this book include not only his ground-breaking fashion shoots, but also his brooding black-and-white landscapes from the 1950s and the magical colour cityscapes of two decades later. Each is a part of a carefully orchestrated sequence which offers an unprecedented insight into the full range of Guy Bourdins work.
Guy Bourdin's surreal and erotic imagery filled pages of international magazines throughout the 1970's. Within the medium of fashion photography, he gave shape to dark and intriguing vision that exerted lasting influence on the international style scene and altered the contemporary aesthetic. Bourdin rarely allowed his work to appear outside the pages of the magazines, and there has never been a book published devoted to his remarkable legacy. He remained an enigma, shunning publicity and becoming reclusive.
After his death the French government seized all his work for non-payment of taxes and it was thought a book would be impossible. However, published under the guidance of Bourdin's son, Samuel Bourdin (who put his affairs in order and enabled publication) and creative director Fernando Delgado, EXHIBIT A presents for the first time a comprehensive look at the range and depth of Bourdin's photographic work, from the mid-1950's until his death in 1991. The images herein represent the highlights of his career - including his work for Vogue Paris and his revolutionary advertising campaign for Charles Jourdan shoes. Bourdin is featured and canonized in every history of commercial photography for a style described by one historian as the "look of an era, glamorous, hard-edged with implied narratives and strong, erotic undercurrents." Vogue became a playground for him, the magazine's double-page spread allowing him to indulge his fantasies. He constructed narratives and small scenarios; inventive, shocking and erotic they only served to nurture his own macabre and dangerous persona.
A biographical essay by Michel Guerrin, photography critic for Le Monde, will provide a long-overdue look at Bourdin's career. Writer Luc Sante (has written American Photography 1890 - 1965, New York Noir) contributes a foreword. EXHIBIT A: Guy Bourdin is a landmark volume; these compelling images are as provocative today as they were over two decades ago, and they have left an indisputable mark upon contemporary photography and the visual arts.