To coincide with the UKs largest ever exhibition of the influential and enigmatic fashion photographer Guy Bourdin at Somerset House, the Michael Hoppen Gallery
is exhibiting a rare selection from Walking Legs.
Officially unveiled alongside Somerset Houses show Image-Maker, Walking Legs, is one of Bourdin's most loved Charles Jourdan campaign series. Shot in 1979, the French designer and photographer used quintessentially English landscapes as the backdrop to this high-end campaign. Photographed at locations on a road trip taken in a Cadillac from London to Brighton, many of the city and seaside scenes remain the same today and there will be familiar sights such as the London bus stop and the classic park bench. As with much of Bourdins work, the model is mysteriously absent all that is left is a pair of mannequin legs, adorned with Charles Jourdans creations.
Born in Paris in 1928, Guy Bourdin was the pioneering fashion photographer whose arresting photographs filled the pages of French Vogue for three decades from the 1950s through to the 80s. He is notorious for breaking the boundaries of traditional commercial photography and reshaping the classic fashion picture, using a daring narrative supremacy and vibrant colour palette. Vogues editor introduced Bourdin to the shoe designer Charles Jourdan, for whom he became the brand's official advertising photographer and producing some of his best images in during this period. The beauty in many of his pictures is that you can see the pores of the models and their small imperfections. In this respect they hold an integrity that is rarely seen today.
Bourdin reveals his time spent as assistant to Surrealist photographic master Man Ray in his clever and improbable scenarios; the spirit of the Surrealists is ever-present in his work, evident in the dream-like and mysterious quality of many of his pictures. Using fashion photography as his medium, Bourdin explored the provocative and the sublime with a relentless perfectionism and sharp humour. He captured the imagination of a generation, and yet his images have a timeless quality, so much so that they continue to influence fashion photography and advertising today more than twenty years since his death.