I have decided to kick off this picture shindig with some of my favorite “classic/ iconic” photographers. The first being, the great Guy Bourdin.

The word great gets thrown about so often these days. People use it when commenting on anything from football players to frozen yogurts and rarely justify the word in its true form. Never has the word been so apt when describing the work of Bourdin. I find his images “great” to look at, his ideas are “great” in concept, and his commitment to creating an image is for lack of a better word….”great”.

I love things to be simple, and although the models involved in Bourdins creations would disagree, the majority of Bourdin’s images have a simple look and feel about them. The simplistic nature of the images induce extensive thoughts and although the scenes are visually uncluttered they are anything but explanatory. Much of his work engages the viewer in a battle of theories as to what exactly is being portrayed. Furthermore it is the simplistic nature that intrigues the notion of suspense. His images almost seem as if something is just about to happen.

Simplicity

Simplicity

In my opinion I feel that Bourdin was throwing two fingers up at the general demographic who viewed his work. I see an ironic slap in the face to all those image conscious upper class women who bought Vogue to gawp at the newest $100 shoes. To them, fashion was their religion and Vogue some sort of Jesus figure spreading parables of chic. Bourdin displayed the twisted reality they inhabit by creating images that held two opposing values. We see this conflict in his series of images showing shoes. The shoes will clearly be the main area of interest for the Vogue readers, that and the excellently executed photography, so much so that the actual discourse of the image will pass them by.

Life in the gutter? Nice shoes though.

Life in the gutter? Nice shoes though.

It was his ability to intrigue and dismiss at the same time that, in my opinion, creates the “greatness” of his work.

Bourdin died in 1991 in Paris, his legacy will live forever and all aspiring fashion photographers could do many things worse than invest in purchasing his books.

Guy Bourdin