A photo taken by Guy Bourdin for shoe and fashion designer, Charles Jourdan.
Celebrated photographer Guy Bourdin’s career spanned nearly 40 years. In the mid-50s, the young Frenchman got his big break after scoring a dream gig with French Vogue. Bourdin was inspired by the vitally important Man Ray, and the revered American Surrealist would become a mentor to the young Bourdin. In fact, when Bourdin held his first gallery show in Paris in 1952, Man Ray himself wrote the introduction for the show’s catalog.
A photograph taken by Guy Bourdin inside Man Ray’s studio in Paris.
As the 1960s rolled in, Bourdin’s services would be engaged by shoe and fashion designer Charles Jourdan to create ads for his sexy footwear. Bourdin’s photos for Jourdan were wildly unconventional and routinely featured disembodied legs, nudity, and fetish-like imagery. Jourdan would use a vast number of Bourdin’s images for various ad campaigns until the early part of the 80’s—many of which look more like provocative movie stills than ads for shoes. As you might imagine, Bourdin’s work has been compiled into a wide variety of books including Exhibit A (2001), Guy Bourdin: Polaroids (2010), and Guy Bourdin: A Message for You, (2013). Fans of the masterful innovator say that Bourdin was incapable of taking a “bad” photograph, something I think you will agree with after looking at the examples of his work posted below. Some are NSFW.
Another image by Bourdin used by Charles Jourdan.
More after the jump…