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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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More Great Photographers To Discover

Zhang Jingna
China
1988
Zhang Jingna born May 4, 1988 in Beijing, China is a photographer known widely on DeviantART as zemotion.Born in the suburbs of Beijing to a sporting family, Jingna moved to Singapore at the age of eight, where she attended Haig Girls' School. At the age of fourteen, nine months after picking up air rifle, Jingna broke a national record, and subsequently joined the national air rifle team. She was active in the team for six years, notable achievements include breaking a record in the 10m Air Rifle event at the Commonwealth Shooting Championships 2005 in Melbourne, and a bronze in the same event at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, awarding her the title of Sports Girl of the Year for 2006 by the Singapore National Olympic Council. She left the Raffles Girls' School at sixteen to pursue a degree in fashion design in Lasalle College of the Arts. At eighteen, Jingna picked up a camera. Probably due to her keen interest and achievements in photography, she left Lasalle in October 2007, and the rifle team in January 2008, to pursue photography full time. Jingna's clientele includes companies such as Mercedes Benz, Canon, Pond's, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and Wacom. She also produced fashion editorials for magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, Elle and Flare. In September 2008, Jingna held her first solo exhibition, "Something Beautiful", at The Arts House in Singapore. In April 2010, 50 of her works were showcased along Orchard Road during Singapore's fashion festival - Fashion Seasons @ Orchard. The showcase was Singapore’s first large scale street exhibition featuring fashion photography. The street exhibition was followed immediately by her second gallery show, "Angel Dreams", at Japan Creative Centre, Singapore, supported by the Embassy of Japan. The show was noted for her photographs of Japanese musician Sugizo (Luna Sea, X Japan). She's influenced by people such as Peter Lindbergh, John William Waterhouse, Yoshitaka Amano and Zdzislaw Beksinski. Jingna also cites her friend Kuang Hong, a fellow artist whom she had managed since the age of fifteen, in numerous interviews, as one of the influences and foundations of her artistic development. She manages a professional Starcraft 2 team called Infinity Seven. Source: Wikipedia Jingna Zhang is a Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 Honoree. She is a fashion and fine art photographer and director living in New York City and Tokyo. A former world-class air rifle shooter on Singapore's national team, Jingna picked up photography at 18 and soon developed a keen eye for painterly and romantic imageries. By 20, Jingna had worked with Mercedes Benz and Ogilvy & Mather, Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, and held her first solo exhibition at Singapore’s Arts House and published her first photobook. In the years since, Jingna's works have appeared on multiple editions of VOGUE, ELLE, and Harper's BAZAAR. Her fine art works have exhibited in New York, Hong Kong, Lisbon, and Singapore. Jingna was named on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list 2018, Photographer of the Year at ELLE Awards Singapore 2011, and a recipient of the 7th Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers. She is an alumna of Stanford Ignite, and the founder of a competitive StarCraft II team. In her free time, Jingna enjoys Gundam, cooking, and Hacker News. Jingna's current projects include an Asian-themed fantasy series, a course on artistic portrait photography, and the Motherland Chronicles artbook. Source: www.zhangjingna.com
Shinya Arimoto
Shinya Arimoto, 1971, Japan, is a conceptual documentary photographer who studied at the School of Visual Arts in Osaka. Within his body of work there is a lot of street photography containing images of structures, objects, women and homeless people. In contrast to a lot of other street photographers he does not just snap his camera but carefully creates the images showing a photographer who communicates with his subjects. The world he shows us is chaotic and vibrant yet he manages to create a sense of calm within his photographs. His story-telling images are well-composed, sensitive and intimate. His work has been exhibited on numerous occasions in Japan. Source: 500photographers.blogspot.com Interview With Shinya Arimoto AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Shinya Arimoto: After viewing Masatoshi Naito’s photo book TOKYO while in high school. Where did you study photography? I studied the photography at the School of Visual Arts in Osaka. My teacher at that time was the photographer Mr. Shunji Dodo. I have a high regard for him. Do you have a mentor or role model? Mr. Shunji Dodo has remained my teacher and mentor ever since my student days. How long have you been a photographer? It's been 20 years since I became the freelance photographer. Do you remember your first shot? What was it? I still remember when I spoke to a stranger for the first time on the street and took a photograph. What or who inspires you? The streets of Tokyo which are changing every day. How could you describe your style? Traditional street photography. Do you have a favorite photograph or series? It is a "ariphoto" series of ongoing. AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? I use medium format film cameras. Mainly a Rolleiflex 2.8F, a Hasselblad 903SWC and a Mamiya RZ67. Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? Because the period between actually photographing my worn and exhibiting it is extremely short, the editing work is minimal. Favorite(s) photographer(s)? Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, Bruce Davidson and Josef Koudelka. What advice would you give a young photographer? Just get out there and shoot on the street! What mistake should a young photographer avoid? Being inclined to think about “a concept” too much. An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? The city of Tokyo which can be seen in my eyes is one of an ecosystem with magnificent circulation. What are your projects? Most recently I have been taking photographs of the small insect in the forest. Your best memory as a photographer? The days when I took traveled to Tibet with a camera when I was in my early 20's. Your worst souvenir as a photographer? Having 150 rolls of exposed film stolen in India... The compliment that touched you most? Timeless, Placeless. If you were someone else who would it be? A small insect. I want to look at the world from that point of view. Your favorite photo book? A Period of Juvenile Prosperity / Mike Brodie which I obtained is a favorite recently. An anecdote? I have held the exhibition currently in Paris. So I was very inspired to stay in Europe for the first time. I want to look into a lot of people Since the PHOTOQUAI is very interesting event. Anything else you would like to share? My gallery: Totem Pole Photo Gallery in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Sean Gallagher
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Bischof was born in Zürich, Switzerland. When he was six years old, the family moved to Waldshut, Germany, where he subsequently went to school. In 1932, having abandoned studies to become a teacher, he enrolled at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich, where he graduated cum laude in 1936. From 1939 on, he worked as an independent photographer for various magazines, in particular, du, based in Zürich. He travelled extensively from 1945 to 1949 through nearly all European countries from France to Romania and from Norway to Greece. His works on the devastation in post-war Europe established him as one of the foremost photojournalists of his time. He was associated into Magnum Photos in 1948 and became a full member in 1949. At that time Magnum was composed of just five other photographers, its founders Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, David Seymour, and Ernst Haas. The focus of much of Bischof's post-war humanist photography was showing the poverty and despair around him in Europe, tempered with his desire to travel the world, conveying the beauty of nature and humanity. In 1951, he went to India, freelancing for Life, and then to Japan and Korea. For Paris Match he worked as a war reporter in Vietnam. In 1954, he travelled through Mexico and Panama, before flying to Peru, where he embarked on a trip through the Andes to the Amazonas on 14 May. On 16 May his car fell off a cliff on a mountain road in the Andes, and all three passengers were killed. Source: Wikipedia Werner Bischof was born in Switzerland. He studied photography with Hans Finsler in his native Zurich at the School for Arts and Crafts, then opened a photography and advertising studio. In 1942, he became a freelancer for Du magazine, which published his first major photo essays in 1943. Bischof received international recognition after the publication of his 1945 reportage on the devastation caused by the Second World War. In the years that followed, Bischof traveled in Italy and Greece for Swiss Relief, an organization dedicated to post-war reconstruction. In 1948, he photographed the Winter Olympics in St Moritz for LIFE magazine. After trips to Eastern Europe, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, he worked for Picture Post, The Observer, Illustrated, and Epoca. He was the first photographer to join Magnum with the founding members in 1949. Disliking the ‘superficiality and sensationalism’ of the magazine business, he devoted much of his working life to looking for order and tranquility in traditional culture, something that did not endear him to picture editors looking for hot topical material. Nonetheless, he found himself sent to report on the famine in India by Life magazine (1951), and he went on to work in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Indochina. The images from these reportages were used in major picture magazines throughout the world. In the autumn of 1953, Bischof created a series of expansively composed color photographs of the USA. The following year he traveled throughout Mexico and Panama, and then on to a remote part of Peru, where he was engaged in making a film. Tragically, Bischof died in a road accident in the Andes on 16 May 1954, only nine days before Magnum founder Robert Capa lost his life in Indochina. Source: Magnum Photos
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