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5. Pentax calendar, 1980 © Guy Bourdin
Pentax calendar, 1980Photography by Guy Bourdin

Under the skin of Guy Bourdin

The fashion provocateur, photographer and filmmaker's archive is laid bare in his most extensive UK exhibition to date

A flash of leg, a lacquer of varnish and a paintbox palette – you’d be hard pushed to find a creative who wouldn't recognise the artistry of late fashion photographer and filmmaker Guy Bourdin: having ignited his career with French Vogue in the mid-50s, Bourdin’s revolutionary portfolio is a visual treasure trove. A rich archive of hard-to-ignore, high-gloss spreads and a multitude of illustrious advertisements created for brands such as Issey Miyake, Charles Jourdan and Chanel.

Manifesting a sinister, sexual and surreal beauty in his craft – with Man Ray a key inspiration – Bourdin’s signature can be seen mirrored throughout 21st century media; arousing the art, fashion and music world alike. “There's such amazing narrative and real beauty to his images. Those things are timeless,” Bourdin’s muse Nicolle Meyer told Dazed when we spoke to her ahead of the photographer’s exhibition at the Wapping Project in 2009.

This month, the vanguard's archive will go on display in a new exhibition Guy Bourdin: Image-Maker at Somerset House. The show will be his largest UK exhibition to date, including over 100 colour exhibition prints of Bourdin’s most significant works – spanning over four decades.

Guy Bourdin: Image-Maker will run from November 27, 2014 – March 15, 2015 at Somerset House