Academic journal article Afterimage

Guy Bourdin

Academic journal article Afterimage

Guy Bourdin

Article excerpt

Guy Bourdin

edited by Charlotte Cotton and Shelly Verthime

Abrams, 2003/168 pp./$55 (hb).

Guy Bourdin (1928-1981) is probably to advertising/fashion photography what Tony Ray-Jones is to British photography, what Gary Winogrand is to American street photography (especially in his Women Are Beautiful.) All three photographers have defined and asserted very idiosyncratic visions that ally humor, irony, and in the case of Winogrand and Bourdin a certain attitude toward women that has been considered controversial and objectionable. In the world of fashion photography, which is what Bourdin's work is exclusively dedicated to, Helmut Newton is, without any doubt, the kindred spirit that emulates Bourdin. Bourdin seemed to entertain a morbid fascination for women that he expressed in surrealistic images whose impact relied on the efficiency of simple compositions and strong color.

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Drama and death in the pursuit of the white rabbit was a common occurrence for the Alices in Bourdin's photographs. His Alices have grown into adult and sexual subjects but still maintain an almost perverse, at least fascinated relationship with childhood--from the viewer's/photographer's point of view--a surreal combination of Visconti's Death in Venice and Nabokov's Lolita. One of the main differences between Bourdin's photography and the works of the above-mentioned artists is that it is hardly known outside the magazines that published him such as Vogue or Harper's Bazaar. …

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