aka Pilena between Riga and Paris

Muse of Guy Bourdin

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When I look at my paintings, I can clearly see some influence of Guy Bourdin – a legendary french fashion photographer. I’m sure you know his works…surreal, erotic and provocative.

Guy Bourdin was born in Paris in 1928 and received his first photographic training whilst performing military service in Senegal in 1948–9. His photographs were first shown in Paris in 1952 and he began working for French Vogue in 1954.

At French Vogue, Bourdin demanded and was allowed unique editorial control and amazingly he extended this to his principal client in advertising, the shoe company Charles Jourdan, who first commissioned him in the 1960s. Bourdin’s approach to campaigns reflected a distinct change for advertising in this period. Bourdin rejected the ‘product shot’ in favour of atmospheric, often surreal tableaux and suggestions of narrative.

The impact of the imagery of Guy Bourdin on both commercial and fine art photography continues to resonate today, Bourdin made radical changes both in the style and the meaning of commercial imagery. His fashion shoots are mysterious, hypnotic, surreal, exposing the true and unnerving nature of desire.

Today while looking through his works, I noticed Nicolle – Nicolle Meyer. Bourdin’s muse from 1977-1980. And here is a short interview with Nicolle I found on CREATIVE MAPPING…for the full version click HERE!

CM: Where are you from?
Nicole Meyer: I was born in Los Angeles to an American mom and a French father.

CM: How did you begin modelling?
Nicolle: I had started to do runway shows in Japan and the person in charge advised me to try my luck with editorial work upon my return to Paris—my family had moved there in 1972. I joined a small modelling agency and they had the great insight—after I had done a few test shots– to send me immediately on a go-see to Guy Bourdin’s studio. I had been training as a dancer since the age of 9, was at the Conservatory for Music & Dance in Paris, as well as taking daily classes at Salle Pleyel, where by chance I went for an audition which brought me to the runway shows in Japan…

CM: How did you meet him?
NM: I met Guy Bourdin on a go-see at his studio in the Marais district of Paris. I was not aware of his status as a photographer. He was very sweet, really took his time to look at my few test shots, then asked to see my identity card. At the time I thought he was looking at my photo, it was only until much later that I learned he was a very superstitious man and was looking at my date of birth. My zodiac sign obviously was the right one and that same week I was booked to pose for him for Vogue Paris.

CM: What did he love about you ?
I think he liked the child-woman I represented. I was seventeen. No affectations or acquired attitudes, not yet a real woman. I was a free spirit and up for most anything, this afforded him the freedom to try out whatever he had in mind. I loved working with him, being part of the whole process, the ritual of preparation, the glamour and fun, it was liberating and made me a willing subject. I guess that was a potent combination and led to a prolific three years.


CM: What were your most inspiring moments with Guy Bourdin?
NM: I see my work and experience with Guy as a whole but a shot we did at Karl Lagerfeld’s chateau for Vogue Paris was particularly memorable. I had the feeling of partaking in a film the whole week, the atmosphere and the images he created were so magical. Another special time was a two-month road trip to the USA through the southern States with Guy, his partner Sybille and small team. Being with him on a daily basis, sightseeing, driving down endless highways, working along the way—that was an incredible experience. But then working in the studio was equally special, you were in a creative capsule with no notion of time.

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Photos: Pinterest