Guy Bourdin was a groundbreaking image-maker who had a profoundly influential impact on fashion photography. His fashion editorial and advertising was published principally in French Vogue from the mid-1950s through to the late 1980s, where it had its greatest impact in the decade of the 1970s. Born in 1928 in Paris, Bourdin grew up in an age of intense cultural anxiety, precipitated by the uncertainties and disruption of the wartime occupation of France, and the subsequent challenge to human rationality typified by the philosophies of Existentialism. His early inspiration was from Surrealism, and specifically the work of Man Ray, with whom he struck up a relationship, the Surrealist whose vision had reconfigured notions of what a photograph might be. The art Bourdin made without his camera enjoyed a modest success, with exhibitions in Paris and New York, but it was in his experiments with the camera, which he first brought to Vogue in 1954, that he excelled. Bourdin rejected the descriptive roles of photography in favour of an exploration of the medium’s capacity for the divergent. In the practice of certain American photographers, notably Edward Weston, Bourdin recognised a concern with formal perfection and extremely high finish that became his own objective, one perfectly adapted to the deceptive sophistication of fashion imagery, the terrain in which he developed his ideas for over thirty years.