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An editor of Vogue magazine introduced Guy Bourdin to shoe designer Charles Jourdan, who became his patron, and Bourdin shot Jourdan’s ad campaigns between 1967 and 1981. His quirky anthropomorphic compositions, intricate mise en scene ads were recognised as distinctly Bourdin-esque and were always eagerly anticipated by the media.
Guy Bourdin’s photographs are often richly sensual but also rely heavily on provocation and ability to shock. Additionally integrating erotic, surreal, sinister components— Bourdin configured a whole new visual vocabulary with which to associate the goods of haute-couture. The narratives were strange and mysterious, often plainly exhibiting violence and graphic sexuality. Evident through astute reading of his compositional and thematic presentation, Bourdin’s profited from the influence of a diverse collection of contemporaries: first and foremost, his mentor Man Ray, Also the photographer Edward Weston, surrealist painters Magritte and Balthus, and Spanish surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel.