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Guy Bourdin
Guy Bourdin
Guy Bourdin

Guy Bourdin

Country: France
Birth: 1928 | Death: 1991

Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) was born in Paris.

A painter his entire life and a self-taught photographer, he was working for magazines, such as Vogue as well as for brands such as Chanel, Ungaro and Charles Jourdan. He exhibited his first photographies at Galerie 29 in 1952. Nowadays his work has been exhibited in the most prestigious museums, such as The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Jeu de Paume, The National Art Museum of China, The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and The Moscow House of Photography. His oeuvres is part of the collection of many prestigious institutions such as the MoMA in New York, The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, SFMOMA in San Francisco and the collection of the V&A among others.

Guy Bourdin's career spanned more than forty years during which time he worked for the world's leading fashion houses and magazines. With the eye of a painter, Guy Bourdin created images that contained fascinating stories, compositions, both in B&W and in colors. He was among the 1st to create images with narratives, telling stories and shows that the image is more important than the product which is displayed. 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.

Guy Bourdin used the format of the double spread magazine page in the most inventive way. He tailored his compositions to the constraints of the printed page both conceptually and graphically, and the mirror motif so central in his work finds its formal counterpart in the doubleness of the magazine spread. Layout and design become powerful metaphors for the photographic medium, engaging the eye and with it, the mind. While on the one hand employing formal elements of composition, Guy Bourdin, on the other hand, sought to transcend the reality of the photographic medium with surreal twists to the apparent subject of his images and his unconventional manipulation of the picture plane. Given total creative freedom and with uncompromising artistic ethic, Guy Bourdin captured the imagination of a whole generation at the late 1970s, recognised as the highest note in his career.

Guy Bourdin was an image maker, a perfectionist. He knew how to grab the attention of the viewer and left nothing to chance. He created impeccable sets, or when not shooting in his studio rue des Ecouffes in le Marais, in undistinguished bedrooms, on the beach, in nature, or in urban landscapes. The unusual dramas that unfold in these seemingly everyday scenes and ordinary encounters pique our subconscious and invite our imagination. Moreover, he developed a technic using hyper real colours, meticulous compositions of cropped elements such as low skies with high grounds and the interplay of light and shadows as well as the unique make-up of the models.

Guy Bourdin irreverently swept away all the standards of beauty, conventional morals and product portrayals in one fell swoop. Around the female body he constructed visual disruptions, the outrageous, the hair-raising, the indiscreet, the ugly, the doomed, the fragmentary and the absent, torsos and death - all the tension and the entire gamut of what lies beyond the aesthetic and the moral,« explains the exhibition's curator Ingo Taubhorn. Bourdin investigates in minute detail the variables of fashion photography, from brash posing to subtle performances and from complex settings to novel and disturbing notions of images.

Guy Bourdin was among the first to imagine fashion photographies that contained fascinating narratives, dramatic effects with intense color saturation, hyper-realism and cropped compositions while he established the idea that the product is secondary to the image. A fan of Alfred Hitchcock's 'Macguffin' technique - an inanimate object catalyzing the plot - the photographer constructed 'crime scenes', getting rid of all usual standards of beauty and morals while his images demanded cerebral responses. When such photographers as David Bailey, in the 1960s, produced fantasy images of the girl-next-door, Guy Bourdin captured the atmosphere of the 1970s with sharp humor, erotism and outrageous femininity. Collaborating with Issey Miyake, Chanel or Emmanuel Ungaro, it was his work for the shoe label, Charles Jourdan, that brought him the attention of a wider public. With the campaign, Guy Bourdin dared to barely show the product and turned the shoe into a trivial element of a theatrical mise-en-scène that enhanced sex and bad taste.

Guy Bourdin's imagery not only changed the course of fashion photography but influenced a host of contemporary artists, photographers and filmmakers. It is without question, that Guy Bourdin's work for Vogue and his highly acclaimed print advertising for Charles Jourdan in the 1970s are now being seen in the appropriate context of contemporary art.
 

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Joseph Koudelka
Czech Republic
1938
Josef Koudelka was born in 1938 in Boskovice, Moravia. He began photographing his family and the surroundings with a 6 x 6 Bakelite camera. He studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague (CVUT) between 1956 and 1961, receiving a Degree in Engineering in 1961. He staged his first photographic exhibition the same year. Later he worked as an aeronautical engineer in Prague and Bratislava. He began taking commissions from theatre magazines, and regularly photographed stage productions at Prague's Theatre Behind the Gate on a Rolleiflex camera. In 1967, Koudelka decided to give up his career in engineering for full-time work as a photographer. He had returned from a project photographing gypsies in Romania just two days before the Soviet invasion, in August 1968. He witnessed and recorded the military forces of the Warsaw Pact as they invaded Prague and crushed the Czech reforms. Koudelka's negatives were smuggled out of Prague into the hands of the Magnum agency, and published anonymously in The Sunday Times Magazine under the initials P. P. (Prague Photographer) for fear of reprisal to him and his family. His pictures of the events became dramatic international symbols. In 1969 the "anonymous Czech photographer" was awarded the Overseas Press Club's Robert Capa Gold Medal for photographs requiring exceptional courage. With Magnum to recommend him to the British authorities, Koudelka applied for a three-month working visa and fled to England in 1970, where he applied for political asylum and stayed for more than a decade. In 1971 he joined Magnum Photos. A nomad at heart, he continued to wander around Europe with his camera and little else. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Koudelka sustained his work through numerous grants and awards, and continued to exhibit and publish major projects like Gypsies (1975) and Exiles (1988). Since 1986, he has worked with a panoramic camera and issued a compilation of these photographs in his book Chaos in 1999. Koudelka has had more than a dozen books of his work published, including most recently in 2006 the retrospective volume Koudelka. Koudelka has won awards such as the Prix Nadar (1978), a Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1989), a Grand Prix Cartier-Bresson (1991), and the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (1992). Significant exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; the Hayward Gallery, London; the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. He and his work received support and acknowledgment from his friend the French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson. He was also supported by the Czech art historian Anna Farova. In 1987 Koudelka became a French citizen, and was able to return to Czechoslovakia for the first time in 1991. He then produced Black Triangle, documenting his country's wasted landscape. Koudelka resides in France and Prague and is continuing his work documenting the European landscape. He has two daughters and a son. Source: Wikipedia
Margo Davis
United States
1944
Margo Baumgarten Davis is a photographer, educator and author of several photographer's books. Margo was raised in Connecticut and has lived for over 30 years in Palo Alto, California. She attended Bennington College, spent time at the Sorbonne studying French literature, and graduated from University of California, Berkeley. It was at UC Berkeley where she met her first husband Gregson Davis and traveled frequently to his home country of Antigua. She has a daughter, Anika and a son, Julian. Davis has produced photography in Paris, Italy, Nigeria and in the Caribbean, and has done a significant amount of portraiture. Davis has photographed Saul Bellow, Maxine Kingston, Tillie Olsen, Ursula K. Le Guin, Diane Johnson, and Kay Boyle. In Nigeria, Davis produced a number of photographs of the Fula people. Davis has spent time lecturing at Stanford on photojournalism with the communications department. She has also taught photography at University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2017, Margo's book Antigua: Photographs 1967-1973 was published by Nazraeli Press. At interview, Margo said she produced the book after hearing interest expressed at an exhibit in Antigua. Antigua As young artists, we are drawn to projects that help us understand truths about who we are and what we want to become. When we are just starting out, that process is intuitive, at times random; it is also intense and thrilling. This was my experience when I began photographing in Antigua in 1967. It was the very beginning of a long journey in photography that is evolving to this day, 40 years later. From my first days in Antigua, I was overwhelmed by the timeless beauty of the place and especially by the strength of its people. I was born on the East Coast of the United States, a few thousand miles to the north. I was welcomed into a world and culture different from my own. Starting with the Antigua photographs in this exhibit, my life's journey has been with a camera and with an eye for the landscape of the human face. Although I was often moved to photograph the beaches and sunsets, and the shapely old sugar mills and estate houses of the island, I am primarily a portraitist. Drawn to the people of the villages that dotted the island, my early inspirations came from the faces you see here. Whenever possible, I asked permission to photograph - because the power of my portrait style depended on the comfort of the people that I was photographing. Since those early years, my interest in humanistic photography has propelled me into the world of various cultures. I have exhibited those photographs internationally and produced four books. However, it was on the island of Antigua where my passion for photography first began to flourish. Antigua Black; Portrait of an Island People was created and published in 1973. I want to thank again all the Antiguans who helped make this collection possible. Margo Davis Discover All American
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United States
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