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Victoria and Albert Museum
About the Author
Charlotte Cotton, Curator of the accompanying exhibition, has curated many successful exhibitions in the V&A's acclaimed Canon Photography Gallery. She is the author of Imperfect Beauty: The Making of Contemporary Fashion Photographs. Shelly Verthime is a cultural historian who works within the world of contemporary fashion in Paris. She conceived, and is external adviser to, this first major exhibition of Guy Bourdin's photographs.
Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) created the most challenging fashion photography of the late 20th century. Over a 35-year career, including more than three decades creating confrontational images for French Vogue and groundbreaking campaigns for Charles Jourdan footwear, he staged complex dramas, with every gesture and prop carrying a potent psychological charge. He showed us that in the context of fashion it is rarely the product that compels us; it is the image--the seductive narratives of the commercial world, and the quest for the unattainable--that stirs our desires. Today, Bourdin stands as one of the most influential image-makers of all time.
Bourdin cultivated his anonymity, refusing all proposals for books and exhibitions during his lifetime. This volume, published to coincide with the first major exhibition of his photographs, showcases not only his fashion images but also his brooding landscapes and magical cityscapes. The photographs are accompanied by five specially commissioned essays, which together offer the first thorough analysis of Bourdin's unique creativity.