Charles Jourdan ad, 1976
French fashion and advertising photographer Guy Bourdin (1928 – 1991) would have celebrated his 80th birthday today had he not died of cancer 17 years ago.
I’m not sure when I first consciously came in to contact with his oeuvre, but I am pretty sure it was in the terra cognita that the internet has become by way of this page from the site of music and culture connoisseur Phinn.
Today, a wide selection of his videos is available on YouTube; a large number of his films can be found on Flickr and on the internet at large.
However, and although I cannot confirm this, I feel that I had seen the imagery of Bourdin in the pre-internet world, in a Dutch-language magazine called Avenue, which my parents bought during the seventies. It was The Netherlands’ and Flander’s first glossy, and ran from 1965 until 2002. Contributors have included Paul Huf, Eddy Posthuma de Boer, Ed van der Elsken and Inez van Lamsweerde. I distinctly seem to remember the Charles Jourdan shoe photo-ads Bourdin produced during that era. Not coincidentally, Avenue reminds me of that other glossy, Nova magazine, which I covered a couple of weeks ago.
To me, Bourdin can only be compared to his contemporary Helmut Newton (although admittedly I’ve also tentavily compared Ralph Gibson  to Bourdin) because in the words of Charlotte Cotton and Shelly Verthime he “emphasised fetishism, power relationships, and the potential for sexual violence, as well as the artificiality of the image, its gloss rather than its reality.”
I’ve reported on Bourdin many times, and I am glad that I saw his retrospective at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and was given as a present Luc Sante‘s first monograph on his work: Exhibit A: Guy Bourdin
You can find Bourdin’s work all over the net.
Can anyone ID the photograper of this cover image?
For something different here is a photo of a cover from Avenue.