Guy Bourdin: A Legacy

06.02.2013 | Art , Blog | BY:

Tonight, the ICA is hosting a panel discussion on the one and only Guy Bourdin. With his hyper real use of colour and surrealist techniques, the French photographer’s work for the likes of French Vogue and Charles Jourdan managed to strike the delicate balance between provocative, trailblazing and timeless.

Guy Bourdin: A Legacy will not only delve into his long-lasting influence on fashion imagery, but also show rare footage of Bourdin’s cine films. Leading the discussion will be curator and lecturer Judith Clark, Christie’s Director Philippe Garner and Samuel Bourdin, the artist’s only son and Exhibit A: Guy Bourdin co-author. Expect an insightful and interesting look at one of the 20th century’s most prolific image makers.

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Crazy. Sexy. Cool.

03.07.2012 | Art , Blog | BY:

London-born photographer Kate Bellm’s work is all about letting loose. But don’t let the carefree attitude behind her images fool you: with her colourful and striking images, the young talent has already worked for clients such as Adidas, Harrods and Fleet Ilya, as well as exhibited at venues such as the Galerie M. H. Karst in Paris, alongside household names such as Terry Richardson and Nick Knight.

Twin caught up with the photography wünderkind to chat about cosmopolitan creative contrasts, Guy Bourdin and why nudity equals freedom…

What first sparked your interest in photography?

I liked everything about photography from the moment I started: playing around with different techniques in the darkroom and in camera, meeting different people all the time and making imaginary scenarios and memories that are all yours. My favourite thing about it is definitely the memories you save, imagining the photos in 30 years time when you look back on these small worlds of different people who have travelled and inspired you for all the shots.

Working between Berlin and London, what creative differences do you see between the two cities?

For me they are worlds apart. Berlin is all about characters and crazy shoots, freedom, nature and getting naked, breaking into old houses and shooting amazing untouched spots. I feel like a lot in London has been seen before as so much photography is done there and obviously the work is much more commercial and fashion based. Nevertheless, I am inspired there too, by my family and where I grew up in the countryside which evidently is the location for most of my shoots in England.

Some of your photos have a quite Guy Bourdin-esque feel to them, would you say that he is a big influence? Where else do you find inspiration?

Yeah, he totally inspires me. I have had all his books since I was a teenager and actually was just in a group show with his work! [The ICONS OF TOMORROW exhibit at Christophe Guye Galerie in Zurich] That was definitely a dream come true. Also, I am really inspired by all my friends in Berlin right now, they always come by my studio and together we think of crazy new techniques to develop my photos with and have big painting and illustration sessions together.

On the subject of Bourdin, what role does sexuality play in your work?

I just love sexy photos. I mean it’s not even underlying anymore for me unless I’m working it into a fashion shoot. I like shooting my friends naked, for me it’s complete freedom!

As female photographer how do you attempt to represent women in your images?

I represent them as free and having a good time in whatever situation we find ourselves in. I want people to realise that naked images are not a big deal, it’s actually more a state of mind of being happy with your body. But somehow without even realising it, the girls always look insanely sexy.

What work can we expect to see from you in the future?

More road trips, naked girls, skateboarders and paint bombs. Issue 2 of my zine ROCKERS is coming out next week. It will be a Girls edition, so full of all my favourite ladies. I also have a group show coming up in Berlin in September where we are building an acid forest full of colour-painted wood, space skate ramps, wigwams, bone chandeliers and other mystical wonders. Watch out for it on my blog:

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Free Radical

07.02.2012 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

His first photograph in Vogue was of a Balenciaga hat, but with his original visual eye, it was only a matter of time before Parisian photographer Guy Bourdin’s images were international fashion perrenials. His work with French Vogue, coupled with his intuitive, ground-breaking advertising campaigns for Charles Jourdan shoes, changed the nature of fashion photography. Emphasis on the product was transferred onto the image, and in doing so, a new narrative was established, independent of the product itself.

Bourdin’s subsequent success afforded him additional artistic licence where lurid, eccentric and overtly sexual images explored the controversial themes of domination, violence and death, provoking accusations of misogyny and a morbid pre-occupation with mortality. Rarely seen images of his work are currently on show at Michael Hoppen Gallery, including a selection from his series for the 1980 Pentax Calendar, which serve as a fitting tribute to an artist who died 21 years ago in relative obscurity, and is considered to be one of the most influential fashion photographers of the Twentieth Century.

Guy Bourdin is at the Michael Hoppen Gallery until 10th March 2012

Words by Dawn Daniels

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