Polaroids. Photographs by Guy Bourdin. Text by Oliviero Toscani.
One of the Polaroid’s acknowledged masters, Guy Bourdin (1928–1991) brought to
the medium an uncanny ability to combine the snapshot feel with a strong patina
of glamour, and of course plenty of sexiness. A protégé of Man Ray, and best known
today for his controversial fashion photography, Bourdin like his teacher often
brought an edge of menace or discomfort to his eroticism,with surrealistic props
and implied narratives. Like the Surrealists, he often devised ways to bisect the
female form, usually by cropping out above the waist; all these traits of Bourdin’s
fashion photography are to be found here, in this selection of 98 Polaroids,most of
which have never previously been published. Ranging in formality from casual seaside
erotica to darkened interiors with disembodied legs and arms poking into the
frame, these images step outside the safety of the fashion shoot, conjuring a reallife
realm steeped in an ominous sexuality.