Fashion photographer Guy Bourdin's work on display in new Dubai exhibition

For the first time in the Middle East, the French artist's bold body of snapshots goes on display

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

An exhibition celebrating the work of famed, but sometimes controversial, fashion photographer Guy Bourdin has opened at Dubai's Mall of the Emirates.

It is the first time his work has been shown in the Middle East and it is currently on display at That Concept Store.

Credited as being the inventor of modern fashion photography, Bourdin brought to his work — and the wider industry — a skilful blend of surrealism, sensuality and a dark, twisted humour that still lingers today.

Bourdin's career spanned four decades, beginning in the 1950s until his death in 1991 at the age of 62. He worked for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. He also created advertising campaigns for Chanel, Bloomingdale's, Pentax and the French shoemaker Charles Jourdan.

With bold compositions, Guy Bourdin's work is often regarded as groundbreaking. Photo: Estate of Guy Bourdin

Bourdin portrayed female models he photographed in new poses, drawing criticism for demeaning women. However, the women in his photographs are bold, controlling the image and all of the other people in it. Far from seeing women as subservient, Bourdin seemingly viewed them as powerful and looked to capture that through his work.

On display is a compact but balanced collection that shows off Bourdin's technical skill and flashes of his wit.

Having had exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, The Getty museum, The National Art Museum of China and The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography to name a few, Bourdin's influence is widespread. His impact is still felt across fashion photography with the likes of Steven Meisel, Mert and Marcus, Miles Aldridge and David LaChapelle all drawing inspiration from Bourdin.

The exhibition is curated and organised by AP8 and sells framed, limited-edition prints.

“It has been a dream of mine to bring this sumptuous exhibition to the Middle East. There is no better place than That to showcase the artworks of the iconic Guy Bourdin — the photographer who was responsible for elevating fashion photography to an art form," says Viola Raikhel, curator and co-founder of AP8.

Bold and provocative, Guy Bourdin always searched for the most eye-catching, memorable image. Photo: Estate of Guy Bourdin.

Bourdin’s place in history as a disruptor is well documented, with this exhibition offering the chance to see why.

The exhibition runs until March 7 at That Concept Store, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

Updated: February 03, 2023, 3:43 PM