The surreal photographs of Guy Bourdin

We look back at the legendary photographer who brought fetish to fashion.

Peter Iantorno December 16, 2014

Here at EDGAR, we're big fans of photography, and we always bring you the best examples, from urban photos to pictures of stunning nature

We also love some modern photography, such as Richard Silver's unique day-to-night photos featuring some of the most impressive modern structures in the world seen in both the daylight and darkness all in one picture.

Now, there's no doubting that the likes of Silver and many other modern photographers are extremely talented, but they have a distinct advantage over the photographers of old: Photoshop.

That's why we're so enthralled by the work of French photographer Guy Bourdin. In an era before Photoshop, he managed to construct visually complex images that blurred the distinction between advertising and fine art and earned him a reputation as one of the all-time legends of photography. Guy Bourdin photography.

Born in 1928 in Paris, Bourdin had a tough upbringing after he was abandoned by his mother at an early age. After a short stint in the French Air Force, he went into photography and through sheer persistence, managed to convince legendary artist Man Ray to be his mentor. After honing his extraordinary talent under the stewardship of Man Ray, he got his big break in 1954 when Vogue France hired him for an editorial shoot.

His surreal, eye-catching and often disturbing photographs were an immediate hit, and he'd go on to work for the publication for some 30 years, while also working on various high-profile advertising campaigns - most notably for shoe designer Charles Jourdan. Guy Bourdin photography. On occasion he was criticised for his perceived objectification of women, who often appear in pain or even dead in his photos, but it's now widely recognised that Bourdin was simply creating a narrative to his pictures, telling mysterious stories that provoke intrigue in all who view them.

Bourdin's career was long and successful, but he was far from a self-promoter. He didn't collect or try to promote any of his work, and before he died at the age of 61 in 1992, he even expressed a wish that his photos be destroyed.

So even though the man himself might not approve, here are a few of our favourite shots from the great Guy Bourdin: Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography. Guy Bourdin photography.