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2009 April 30

Hidden Agenda

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(NEW YORK) All of New York is buzzing over the Met’s upcoming “Model as Muse” exhibition, but another iconic photographer will be celebrated (along with a muse of his own) in London next week. "Unseen Guy Bourdin," a collection of 32 images--some never before viewed by the public--will open on May 9 at London’s The Wapping Project. For the occasion, one of Bourdin’s favorite subjects, former model Nicolle Meyer, will make the trip from her current home in Mexico to open the exhibition. “I was 17 when I started working with him [in 1977], and he was 48,” said Meyer of her beginnings with the provocative photog. “We had a good work relationship; I trusted him, I was willing to do everything he demanded. I had no problems with the things people though of as unconventional--I didn’t really even find it unconventional. I was very enthusiastic and I think I just intuitively understood. I related to him subconsciously.”

“He was an artist who used photography to paint,” said Jules Wright, director of The Wapping Project. And though some may associate Bourdin’s work with eroticism, Wright says, “Guy Bourdin was darker and deeper than that. His images were not just about sex. The images are technically also astonishing, given that they were taken before the era of digital photography and retouching and were shot on 35mm transparencies.”

Meyer posed for Bourdin for French Vogue editorials, Charles Jourdan ad campaigns, and more, including the now-famous 1980 Pentax calendar. “We worked pretty intensely together for three years, from 1977 to 1980,” she said. "Unseen Guy Bourdin," co-curated by Phillips de Pury & Company, will be on display until July 4.
EMILY GYBEN




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