While a painter his entire life, Bourdin was a self-taught photographer who is best known for his work with magazines such as Vogue and brands such as Chanel, Ungaro and Charles Jourdan. Bourdin’s sharp images contained fascinating narratives. His aim was to show that the photograph could be more interesting than the product that the image was designed to sell.
Bourdin’s photography was often highly sensual, even violently so. He was a committed perfectionist who sought to transcend conventional standards of beauty and conventional morality by creating photographs that very often contained sharp juxtapositions of seemingly contradictory themes. Many times he would use visual disruptions that consisted of contrasts between the beautiful and the ugly; the absurd; the incongruent and even the use of death. Bourdin’s work was highly influential in the 70s and seemed to capture the ethos of the times. His work changed the course of fashion photography in the decades following.
Text © Cigdem Mirol