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Between and Mortarboard

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Accession Number


Guy Bourdin

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
chromogenic print on paper

13 1/16 in x 18 in (33.18 cm x 45.72 cm)

Credit Line
Anonymous Gift: New York

Subject matter
​This is a chromogenic reproduction of a plate from Sighs and Whispers. Bourdin was commissioned by Arthur Cohen, the vice president of Bloomingdale’s, to produce this photographic series for the store’s September 1976 lingerie catalog. The catalog quickly became a collector's item, due to the scarcity of Bourdin's work. He rarely chose to reproduce his photographs in contexts other than magazines and catalogs. This series exemplifies Bourdin's atypical and boundary-pushing approach to fashion photography. The series references but does not create narrative through the deployment of tableau and B-movie aesthetics. Bourdin employed formal devices such as cropped interior spaces, dramatic lighting, cast shadows, and often-overt references to sexuality, which were strategies that he utilized throughout his career.​ When this catalog was released in America, it was met with mixed reviews and controversy, much like his notorious work for Charles Jourdan Shoes in France in preceding decades.

Physical Description
This work is a color photograph of four models standing against a wood-paneled wall. Two identical decorative prints of a night scene hang behind them. On the right, three models are framed by these wall hangings, while another model to the left stands alone and skeptically eyes the happy trio.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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cast shadows
fashion photography
indoor photography
models (people)
modern and contemporary art
women (female humans)

3 Related Resources

(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
Film Noir, Visuality and Themes
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
Sociability and Social Spaces
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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