Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Noteworthy Photographer Guy Bourdin and Rhodia


© Guy Bourdin Estate 2014

Guy Bourdin (1928 -1991) was a French fashion photographer known for his provocative and controversial fashion images. Often richly sensual, they relied heavily on provocation and shock value. One of the most popular photographers of fashion and advertising from the second half of the 20th century, Bourdin set the stage for a new era in fashion photography.

Bourdin worked for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and shot ad campaigns for Chanel, Issey Miyake, Emanuel Ungaro, Gianni Versace, Loewe, Pentax and Bloomingdale’s. (Per Wiki) 

Image credit: © Bethany Hirschberger from Secrets and Sequins
Image credit: © Bethany Hirschberger from Secrets and Sequins

“Orange Rhodia notebooks are full of brief statements, rough sketches and gridded drawings that enable us to see his process at first-hand.”

Image credit: © Brogues Cozens-McNeelance
Image credit: © Brogues Cozens-McNeelance at

Regarding a recent exhibition in the UK at Somerset House: “…outlines his entire creative process, with the photographer’s orange Rhodia notebooks and tracing paper snippets of preparatory technical drawings displayed in simple glass cases throughout.”  – from

“Bourdin was a consummate draghtsman,” Alistair says. Often he took very little interest in the model, composing scenes like an artist. “He carried around an orange Rhodia notebook which was full of little statements, rough sketches and gridded drawings” – snatches of images dreamt up before he photographed them. The notebooks follow no particular order – a detail Alistair loves – Bourdin would just open them up randomly to the first free page. – from 

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