”Guy was the closest thing to a fine-art photographer that this business has produced.” – Albert Watson
I find very interesting the intersection between fashion and fine art photography, and both Guy Bourdin and Albert Watson, merge those genres like few have done. At the core of Guy Bourdin’s photographs there is a challenge to the very nature of commercial image making. Typical fashion images focus on beauty and clothing as their central elements. Guy Bourdin, on the contrary, presented fashion as an excuse to make beautiful photographs rather than the subject of his photographs. His main impact in photography resides on the fact that it is not fashion itself but the image that fascinates the viewer.
Guy Bourding was a radical artist in his field, he lived outside the cutting edge and so he re-defined it. He is one of the few in fashion whose work will endure the passage of time, placing him in the pedestal of the most influent photographers of the second half of the 20th century. You can see more of his images here, and after the jump, and a reference from the New York Times.
Throughout his career, he remained an artist manque, composing and reordering the elements he saw through his viewfinder until they matched the pictures he imagined in his head (and sketched in his notebooks). Except they never did. He could dye the sea bluer, paint the grass greener, arrange his models until they no longer looked human, but perfection was always just out of reach. The Hulcher 70 — the camera used by NASA that could shoot 30 images a second with brilliant resolution — helped him get as close to it as possible, but even then, the moment eluded him. Like Quixote, he was in pursuit of the impossible. from The New York Time, Tim Blanks
…it was a picture of a pepper by Edward Weston that clarified the aesthetic possibilities of photography for him. The monumental landscapes of Ansel Adams were another inspiration. And Bourdin’s friendship with the pragmatic Man Ray helped him appreciate that commerce need not compromise creativity.- from The New York Time, Tim Blanks