Think of Guy Bourdin, and you’ll probably think of intense, transgressive images shot in highly-saturated colours. There’s his photograph for Pentax in 1980, for example, which shows a gush of red liquid apparently streaming from a prone woman’s mouth; or his shot from 1978, which shows a woman’s bottom and legs lying on vivid orange sofa, her head left firmly out of the picture.
But Bourdin also shot award-wining black-and-white work, which is less known now but which was celebrated in its time. There’s his black-and-white campaign for Chanel’s first ‘Premiere’ watch, for example, which he shot in 1987. Influenced by his interest in Surrealism – in particular Man Ray – this campaign went on to win the Infinity Award at the International Center for Photography (ICP) in New York in 1988.
It’s highlighted in the stand that Louise Alexander Gallery is bringing to Paris Photo this year – which is devoted to Bourdin, and in particular to his monochrome work. “Guy Bourdin is internationally renowned for his work in colour and his compelling compositions,” states the gallery. “Much of his lesser known work includes high-quality black-and-white prints from his personal projects dating from the late 1940s to 1955, as well as his work for Vogue and commercials throughout his 40-year career.”