March 6th, 2015
Embankment Galleries, South Wing
£9 / £7 concessions
Until 15th March
The exhibition at Somerset House showcases over 100 images by the influential fashion photographer, some of which have never before been seen. It begins with a series of abstract unpublished campaigns by Bourdin for shoe designer Charles Jourdan. The photos document a road trip taken by Bourdin and his family from London to Brighton with just a pair of mannequin legs and an abundance of shoes. What he created was a series of surreal images following the life of the mannequin legs walking in numerous locations wearing Charles Jourdan’s designs. It sounds bizarre but the photographs are both comical and intriguing as they really look as though a woman is strutting down the road, when it is just a pair of floating mannequin legs.
His later work is slightly more conventional fashion photography but still surreal and dreamy. With many more high heels propping up, flashes of red and lots of suggestive positioning. Some of his paintings are also on display which aren’t perfect though he tended to sketch or paint simply to plan his compositions prior to shooting. Bourdin was a mysterious man who shunned fame and refused to ever have his photo in the Vogue contributor's page. As there has never before been an exhibition solely dedicated to his work, this is definitely worth a visit.