It's always a sweet day when you find out about someone you should have always known about, but never did. I came across James Bidgood's work not long ago when he was cited in some article as inspiration/reference for both Pierre et Gilles and David Lachapelle - all of who I greatly admire - so naturally, I was curious to learn more.
Bidgood has been named the "father of the pulp and glamour aesthetic" so what I find to be the best thing about the following images is not exactly what they look like (even though they're absolutely WONDERFUL) but the fact that each image is on average about 50 years old,and came out before an aesthetic like this (or photoshop) actually existed. INNOVATOR!!!
From the book I bought about him:
"As out of date as his preciosity may be in erotic media, its sensibility has found its way into more mainstream channels. The hypnogogic imagery of today's rock videos parallels Bidgood's penchant for building narrative by visual associations. Pierre et Gilles, the French team of photographers who are known for their opaque pseudo-portraits of celebrities and beautiful men, have borrowed aspects of Bidgood's iconography. But for better or worse, the use of digital photography by these new image-makers has permanently outmoded the methods to which Bidgood resorted for his effects."
Check it out!!!
Couldn't help myself... had to add the stars
"The underwater atmosphere is completely fabricated; the bottom of the ocean was created with silver lame spread across the floor of Bidgood's apartment; he made the arch of a cave out of waxed paper, and fashioned red lame into the shape of lobster. He coated Garvin with mineral oil and pasted glitter and sequins to his skin so the silver fabric under photographic lights would reflect on his body like water. For weeks at a time, Bigood would eat and sleep within the sets he constructed in his apartment"
From Water Colors (early 60s)
"Pink Narcissus is Bidgood's long-term, obsessive homage to the young, male body. With the judicious use of lenses and angles, Bidgood created multiple fantasy worlds out of severely restricted spaces. Everything - from the double exposures to the recycled, souped-up furniture - was created from the most rudimentary resources."
"Fans, turntables and other small mechanical tools were used to animate objects such as a butterfly, a caterpillar and moving clouds. Devices often substituted for lack of crew - blowing curtains, turning lights on and off or moving props when there was no one else but Bidgood on the set."
Image source: My Camera. New obsession: making images circular shaped!