Guy Bourdin, ‘Carla Marlier, ca. 1970’, ca. 1970, Photo12 Galerie

Guy Bourdin had a very personal approach to fashion photography and a singular imprint on the medium. Before introducing surreal, color photography to the masses alongside artist’s such as Man Ray and Erwin Blumenfeld, he began his career Bourdin started with black and white photography in the early 1950s. Although the photographer adhered to classical standards of fashion photography during this early period, details in this print, such as the chair in the back—which is not level with the model—or the broom leaning on the chair, give a touch of originality to the image. The framing is perfect, as well as the movement of the dress, with a slightly blurry effect in the lower part of the image contrasting with the sharp clarity in the upper. An early example of his work in a well-established film medium, the photograph highlights elements of Bourdin’s singular style during his formative years.

Guy Bourdin gave this print to model Carla Marlier in a session for Dior around 1970 alongside eight smaller prints from various photo sessions with Guy Bourdin in which she modeled Dior and Lanvin dresses.

About Guy Bourdin

With a career spanning over three decades, fashion photographer Guy Bourdin created pioneering and provocative images. Described in TIME Magazine as “tiptoeing to the edge of pornography but ending up at art,” Bourdin is best known for his iconoclastic photographs of fragmented women’s bodies, considered alternately objectifying and empowering. This distinct style emerged in the 1970s, as his shocking, sensual, and sometimes unsettling images revolutionized commercial and editorial photography. A protégé of the iconic Surrealist artist Man Ray, Bourdin began exhibiting his drawings and photographs in the early 1950s, landing his first fashion shoot in 1955 in Vogue Paris. Once he began work as a fashion photographer, Bourdin eschewed exhibitions and monographs, feeling that his images functioned exclusively in magazines.

French, 1928-1991, Paris, France

Solo Shows

Helmut Newton Foundation - Museum for Photography, 
Berlin, Germany,
Guy Bourdin: Image Maker

Group Shows

London, UK,
In to the Light: Photography and Abstract Art
Getty Museum, 
Los Angeles, CA, USA,
Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911–2011