Guy Bourdin has been making waves in fashion photography for decades and the Image Maker exhibition at Somerset House is the perfect celebration of his career.

Featuring the biggest display of his work ever assembled in London, with over 100 pieces, it is quite something to behold.

Bourdin was a groundbreaking French fashion photographer who found his feet as the protégé of the legendary Man Ray.

His leggy photos and bold colours create his trademark aesthetic which has been emulated, admired and coveted for years.

“His work took the basic function of the fashion photograph -to sell clothing, beauty and accessories- and made it into something rich and strange.”- V&A Museum

His work has redefined the way fashion and advertising is photographed, and influences the pages of the glossy magazines we see every day.

The collection was curated by Alistair O’Neill with Shelly Verthime and spans Bourdin’s entire career from his early black and white photographs to his later less familiar work.

The collection challenges his trademark style and sees more variation of his work and career which spans over 40 years.

The Walking Legs series is definitely a highlight as it shows Bourdin’s work as we know and recognise it. However, this is not the only reason to go and see the exhibition.

It also features a series of notebooks, sketches and paintings that give a much clearer insight to the creative direction and “inform his approach as a compositional image-maker and meticulous draughtsman”.

These, along with Polaroid test shots, contact sheets and transparencies, make this an exhibition with more depth than you might have seen before

It is an inspired collection which pays homage to a man whose provocative and at times, shocking photography has paved the way for many.

The Image Maker exhibition at Somerset House is on until the 15 March. Tickets are £9.00 but a £7.00 concession is available.

Image by Guy Bourdin obtained via Flickr by Mariana Leme

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