Guy Bourdin aimed to attract viewers in more subtle, indirect ways than the era’s other established image makers, pushing the boundaries of fashion photography. He started with the notion that the product in question was secondary to the image itself, and thus created a mood and story behind each piece. Every one of his works was carefully planned, starting as technical sketches in a notebook that’s on display as part of the exhibit. Polaroid test shots accompany the framed colour prints and portray the level of planning that went into each considered design.
Central to the exhibition and key to Guy Bourdin’s innovative reputation is the range of Super-8 films that accompany his shoots. Taken in real time and un-edited, these captivating videos allow the viewer to experience what it would be like to be present on set. They expertly convey the personality and movement behind the stills and beautifully bring each piece to life.
Intricate and comprehensive, it’s easy to get lost in Image Makers, and is certainly worth spending an afternoon meandering through the Somerset House gallery. A fascinating insight into the process behind Guy Bourdin’s iconic imagery, it’s an intelligent presentation that’s sure to capture your imagination. Visit before the 15th March to avoid disappointment.