Exploring Photography: Guy Bourdin: Image Maker

French fashion photographer Guy Bourdin is arguably one of the most influential and enigmatic photographers in the world. Known for his provocative fashion images and most notably the striking ‘Walking Legs’, an ad campaign that showed severed mannequin limbs strutting their stuff by bus stops, beach huts and factories. The thought provoking images are now being exhibited in all their strangeness for the first time at Somerset House from November 27th 2014 to 15th March 2015

Our Exploring Photography series doesn’t just uncover techniques, it seeks inspiration from some the industries most gifted. The Guy Bourdin exhibition at Somerset house will feature over 100 works and previously unseen material from the photographer’s estate, from 1955 to 1987.

Alistair O’Neil with Shelly Verthime curated the exhibition and the 100 pieces include a range of unique polaroid test shots, double-page spread layouts, contact sheets and transparencies, marking Bourdin’s crafmanship as an image maker and the processes involved in producing startling and provocative imagery in the pre-digital age. The ‘Walking Legs’ series is a campaign commissioned by Charles Jourdan in 1979 exhibited in its entirety for the first time with a yet unseen accompanying fashion film.

This major show will chart Bourdin’s distinguished 40-year career from Man Ray’s protégé to photography revolutionary in his own right and explore his pursuit of perfection.

Exploring Photography | Guy Bourdin Walking Legs 5

Exploring Photography | Guy Bourdin Walking Legs 3

Exploring Photography | Guy Bourdin Walking Legs 2

Exploring Photography | Guy Bourdin Walking Legs 1

Exploring Photography | Guy Bourdin Walking Legs 4

Charles Jourdan, Autumn 1979.
All photographs courtesy of the Guy Bourdin Estate/ A+C

Guy Bourdin Image Maker – Exhibition details
27 November 2014 – 15 March 2015
Daily 10.00-18.00 (Last admission 17.15)
Until 21.00 Thursdays (Last admission 20.15)
24 & 31 December 10.00-16.00, 25 & 26 December-closed, 1 January 12.00-18.00
Embankment Galleries, South Wing
£9.00, £7.00 concessions

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