27 November, 2015 — 21 February, 2016

Guy Bourdin


With surrealism, sharp humour and a deeply radical approach Guy Bourdin changed the scene of photography. His work, whether in editorial or advertising broke aesthetic conventions, always characterized by a dramatic intensity and relentless perfectionism. Fotografiska has the great pleasure to present the exhibition ‘Avant Garde’ by the great fashion photographer Guy Bourdin.

he transformed everyday events into extraordinary scenes

Bourdin was known for his evocative narratives and surrealist scenes where he transformed everyday events into extraordinary scenes that aroused the subconscious and triggered the imagination Photographers has during generations been inspired by Bourdin, among them Sarah Moon, Märta Thisner and Inez & Vinoodh. Along with fashion photographer Helmut Newton, Bourdin completely changed the direction within fashion photography but they did so with very different aesthetic angles.

Already in 1955, Bourdin published his photos in Vogue Paris and he was among the first photographers who put the image in centre rather than the actual product he was paid to advertise. The surrealist and absurdist Man Ray was an important source of information for Bourdin, and their mutual admiration and respect for each other resulted in Man Ray writing the introduction for one of Bourdin’s first exhibitions. His fashion campaign “Walking Legs” for shoe designer Charles Jourdan became a sensation and the collaboration continued for decades.

In 1985 he was awarded the honourable Grand Prix National de la photographie from de French ministry of cultural affairs – an award he politely but firmly turned down. He deceased in his home in Paris in 1991, 62 years old. Unclassifiable, unpredictable, diverse and cultivated, Guy Bourdin remains a mystery.