Books, Fashion November 30, 2010 By Eugene Rabkin

In Between by Guy Bourdin published by Steidl Dangin

In Between by Guy Bourdin Published by Steidl Dangin (Click to enlarge)

title19 Guy Bourdin
Guy Bourdin, the original bad boy of fashion photography, came to fame in 1955 when on the pages of the French Vogue he juxtaposed the prim haute couture dresses against butchered cow heads. At the time this was far more audacious than the current vapid soft porn of Terry Richardson and Olivier Zahm. Bourdin went on to become one of the most celebrated fashion photographers in the world. The new book, In Between (Steidl, $58), offers an engaging retrospective of his work.
     The 272 page tome offers 400 carefully selected photographs that span Bourdin’s oeuvre from 1955 to 1989. The theme of the book is centered on the photographer’s signature achievement – the use of the magazine spread that allowed him to create large, striking images. There are quite a few impressive photos in the book, mostly those of his late work. Curiously enough, the book is not organized in chronological order, which would allow the viewer to see how Bourdin’s work became more daring with time. The most remarkable images are those that bear the photographer’s trademark fascination with red color used in makeup. The red of the lipstick and the nail polish is wooingly deep and the starkness of the photographs is arresting.
Bourdin was most successful where his images were utterly artificial and staged. The more idyllic photos that use nature or children fade in comparison with the gloss and pomp of his obviously theatrical work. Fashion, after all, is theater and Bourdin had a talent for providing the stage.

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