Location: Espace Van Gogh
Bourdin’s exhibition showcased his “untouched” or unedited photography that one would not have seen in a vintage issue of vogue that one could typically find his work. The photos were straight from his dark room, black and white and of various kinds of photography. Although his fashion photography in color was presented in a projection at the end of the exhibition, most of his photos were abstract portraits of women and some men. Through these photos, one could really see who Guy Bourdin was as a photographer. Bourdin used light and subjects to make his photography come to life. Photos of a woman in beautiful clothing would comment on more than just the fashion or the model; it proposed modern ideals, concepts and feelings. In Boudin’s exhibition, I felt feelings of innovation, originality and a sort of uncomfortable familiarity of conceptualizing a human being as an idea within a certain scene or atmosphere.
Many of Boudin’s darkroom photos were displayed unaltered as they were discovered. These small photos were purposely and individually showcased in glass frames to show the raw character of the series of photos. Usually, with fashion or staged photography the viewer is expecting a beautified version of the image before them. These photos are a stark contrast to that expectation in which the viewer is surprised at the beautiful simplicity of his raw black and white images. It seems as though spectators would be somewhat unsettled when trying to make sense of the message portrayed in the image before them as I was. This is what I think makes this series particularly interesting and intriguing.
Boudin’s skill with light and composition also made his “untouched” exhibition one of a kind. At the end of the exhibition, his projection of fashion photography showcased various types of colors and compositions while also communicating a message or concept. Fashion photography is generally interpreted as a materialistic and singular form of art. At most, it is seen as a reflection of modern pop culture. Boudin’s photography does more in that it makes the viewer ponder on the images’ meaning all while interpreting the elements of fashion and culture within the image.