EXHIBITION Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton and Angelo Marino
THE MEN THAT TOOK "RADICAL CHIC" TO A NEW LEVEL
The Helmut Newton Foundation is always worth a visit. Its current exhibition “Guy Bourdin. Image Maker / Helmut Newton. Gun For Hire / Angelo Marino. Another Story” compromises works by two of the most influential fashion photographers of the 20th century, Bourdin and Newton, as well as images by Marino, Newton’s former assistant.
In the 1960’s and 70’s both HELMUT NEWTON and GUY BOURDIN revolutionised fashion photography in similar ways. Both worked for renowned fashion magazines like Vogue and for designers and developed a style that we now know as radical chic, an elegant and extravagant but very unusual way of presenting fashion. Photography always captures the Zeitgeist of a generation – fashion photography is no exception, and the importance of telling a story in a surprising and exciting manner is just as important. BOURDIN and NEWTON excelled at that; we might even say they created fashion photography to begin with.
BOURDIN mostly worked for Charles Jourdan, best known for his designs of women’s shoes. The photographer took the shoes out of their usual context and staged them in unusual and surprising environments. The compositions of BOURDIN’s shots did not differ between editorial and advertising. Sometimes he would marginalise the model to emphasize the shoe, other times he’d radicalise the stereotypical perception of women. He used cross-fade and unusual cuts, abnormal postures and semi-violent scenarios. Yet, his photographs stand out because of their surrealistic minimalism, a style that paved the way for fashion photography as we know it. Under the title Image Maker, the exhibition features both well and little known photographs by BOURDIN.
In contrast to BOURDIN, HELMUT NEWTON described himself as “a gun for hire”. He worked for many different haute couture fashion houses like Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Garavani Valentino. Newton was free to compose his photos according to his own ideas and concepts, most of them circling around a surreal parallel narrative that blurred the line between reality and fantasy. Later, he’d often shoot sequences that told a story.
Both photographers were part of creating an image for a brand - they displayed emotions that would be inseparably connected to the fashion house and thereby make them more exclusive and memorable.
The small intimate June’s Room of the foundation is always dedicated to NEWTON’s friends and companions, this time to his former assistant ANGELO MARINO.
Under the title Another Story MARINO shows an individual view on his immediate surroundings through snapshots taken with his iPhone on his daily commute to work.
The result are 260 amusing, surprising and surreal photos, displayed in sequences of five, representing one working week.