The name Guy Bourdin is every photographer’s wet dream. No, it’s better than that. The moment it is pronounced – presuming you’re a fashion photography enthusiast – you will experience not only a rush of ecstasy, but also a surge of renewed fervour and evangelical zeal. You’ll want to call all your friends and tell them the wonderful news: “I’ve seen the exhibition!”
It is hard for me not to like him. He is French, a genuine myth, controversial, a technical virtuoso, the introduction to his first solo show was written by Man Ray, he told absurd, surreal and dangerous stories though his images and he strived to achieve perfection. And as the creator of visuals, he is arguably one of the most influential and provocative radical fashion photographers of the last two decades.
Last Saturday I was finally able to see the “Unseen: Guy Bourdin” show at the Wapping Project in East London. 32 of the photographer’s works are displayed in the back room of a former hydraulic power station with an Astroturf floor (highly reminiscent of the vivid green grass often found in his pictures). The darkly lit cold industrial space is the perfect place to show his work, enhancing its brute dark emotion and theatrical narratives.
If you live in London, go and see this show!
All images from www.guybourdin.org