Inside the New Guy Bourdin Exhibit in Paris

Charles Jourdan, spring 1978. Photo: The Guy Bourdin Estate 2015 / Courtesy of the Louise Alexander Gallery

Guy Bourdin was a master not just of photography, but photography within photography, too. After taking test shots of models posing, he’d sometimes reincorporate those black-and-white Polaroids into the final color versions as well. Whether comprised of a single image or a couple, his photos set a new standard for commercial photography, adding narrative, surrealism, and plenty of provocative poses — even if the glamorous limbs they came from were often disembodied.

Bourdin was famously wary about having his photos republished, and while there’ve been plenty of exhibitions since his death in 1991, “Mise en Abyme” — here translating to “image within an image” — is the first one to showcase his Polaroids alongside the photos in which they appear. They’re up from today until Sunday at Paris Photo, an expo at the Grand Palais of almost 150 galleries, including Italy’s Louise Alexander, which represents Bourdin’s estate.

Click ahead to see some of the exhibit’s images, many of which — like Bourdin’s campaigns for shoe company Charles Jourdan, and editorials for magazines like French Vogue — paved the way for a new type of fashion photography. 

Guy Bourdin: Mise en Abyme is on display at the Grand Palais in Paris now through November 15. 

Inside the New Guy Bourdin Exhibit in Paris