Jean-Paul Goude, the famous photographer, made a name for himself thanks to his beautiful, funny and offbeat works.
A franco-American photographer
In the world of Jean-Paul Goude, one of the most famous photographers in the world, there is first of all his childhood, a father who will instill in him a taste for elegance, an American dancer mother, a passion for 1950s American musical films and a fascination with ethnic cultures. Then there is this taste for drawing and then for the sublimated image whether it is repainted or cut out. He began his career as an illustrator for Marie-Claire, Dim and Printemps, which in 1964 hired him to decorate the Brummel store, for which he produced the « Minets » frieze, a huge fresco that circled the store. In 1969, Harold Hayes, director of the magazine Esquire, to which he had sent his drawings, commissioned a special issue from him, then brought him to NY to entrust him with the artistic direction of the magazine.
The principles of French Correction
If he continues to produce memorable illustrations such as the one presenting Chairman Mao bathing in the Yangtze in the company of a plastic Donald Duck, he begins to work on photography. In 1976, for his first book Jungle Fever, he photographed Afro-American and Hispanic communities. This is followed by an issue of Esquire entitled America dances, for which Goude writes an article that depicts four ethnic groups: white, black, Hispanic and gay. It was also the time when he began to apply the principles of French Correction to photography. The French Correction or « little guide to show off », stems from his ironic desire to magnify the body with the help of all kinds of prostheses. He redraws, photographs the body of his companions, transforms it. “My work revolves around beauty. My attraction to mysterious mandarins and African princesses stems from an unfulfilled desire both childish and repressed to travel to distant lands. » He begins by « correcting » his companion Radiah, whom he perches on platform shoes, thus raising her from her initial 1m72 to almost 2 meters and « Africanizes » her thanks to self-adhesive scarifications of his own making, placed on her face.
Like a surgeon-artist, Goude uses his scissors like a scalpel, directly cutting the ektachromes to retouch the image by magnifying it. Whether it’s ex-bodybuilder Kellie Everts, Toukie, Grace Jones, or even Farida, he lengthens, erases, stretches, multiplies… Grace Jones, will be his ideal muse that he will photograph, cut, repaint, twist into strange arabesques while staging her in various musical shows of a unique sophistication, especially in the context of the time. He also designed all sorts of costumes for her, each more spectacular than the next, including an incredible « constructivist » maternity dress. This period completed, he returned to France.
His works for publicity
Publicity comes to him and he then signs some of the most beautiful advertising films of the moment. From Egoïste by Chanel in 1990 to Guerlain in 2008 via Lee Cooper 1982, Citroën 1985, the Kodak saga from 1986 to 1992, Sun 1988, Perrier 1990, etc. In 1989, Jack Lang, then Minister of Culture for François Mitterrand, invited him to direct the parade for the Bicentenary of the French Revolution. With his mastery of excess, his humor and his poetry, Jean-Paul Goude will know how to transform the austere military parade into a joyful and multi-ethnic fairy tale. Finally, it is for more than 10 years that Jean-Paul Goude and his posters embodied by Laetitia Casta for the Galeries Lafayette have become an unmissable event for the whole of France.