RUSSH recently gathered an intimate group of art lovers for the prelaunch of AP8's the Art of Fashion featuring works from Guy Bourdin, the late artist with a legacy that has endured for more than seventy years, continuing to have a fundamental impact beyond his primary medium of fashion photography. An iconoclast and a visionary, Bourdin was an artist whose images have formed a blue print and a reference point for generations since.
Appreciators of Bourdin's work are able to purchase limited-edition runs of his photographs, an idea curated by Viola Raikhel. All images will be produced in a run limited to 999 and arrive framed, ready for hanging in homes as the artist intended. The provenance of each piece will be established through stenographic cryptography, a small section of pixels, invisible to the naked eye, serving as a digital fingerprint.
AP8 reimagines art collecting through producing certified works from some of the world's most outstanding artists, making them accessible to a new audience of collectors. Each collection is curated and produced as a unique series of AP8 limited editions and the team work directly with the artist and their estates to finalise the intricacies when curating a range. Collections are not re-released and once sold out will not be reproduced.
Born in Paris, Bourdin initially trained as a painter and first exhibited a series of drawings and paintings in the early 1950s. When engaged in compulsory military service in Senegal, he began working as an aerial photographer in the French Air Force and after departing the service continued to paint and take photos. Bourdin’s early works are categorised by highly orchestrated images – heavily influenced by cinema – and they include images constructed on the Normandy coast of his childhood, a location that he would return to many times over the course of his career.
In 1955, Bourdin began working with Vogue Paris and this move lead to a revolution in his work and a fundamental change in direction of the magazine. Prior to his work at Vogue, the publication was categorised by standard photographic fare that showcased the garments and accessories in a quintessentially commercial light. Yet, Bourdin held a more artistic vision for the magazine and in subsequent decades, he would continue to revolutionise the format of Vogue Paris through stylised, complicated layouts and images.
Frederic Arnal, Director of the Guy Bourdin Estate, describes the artist’s impact as unlimited, a heavily influential figure who galvanised the outlook for future photographers.
"It takes a simple Google search on ‘Guy Bourdin’ to realise how influential his work is and how his presence on art and fashion is still very palpable. With the current most acknowledged creators still referencing him as an influence to their work. One thing we are often surprised by is the reaction we receive from people that didn't know his work and realise it was done 50 years ago. They usually hardly believe it. I think Bourdin was able to encapsulate the zeitgeist while being very sensitive to what could be the future."
Bourdin's enduring legacy can be defined on two fronts: the belief in the power of narrative and tone, alongside a dynamic stylisation through colour. He has influenced not just how fashion photography looks, but fundamentally what it is.
Shop Editor-in-Chief Jess Blanch's favourite photographs from the curated collection below.