A year ago, French photographer Jean-Paul Goude “Broke the Internet” when he shot Kim Kardashian for what turned out to be a notorious Paper magazine cover.
Now, the 74-year-old has teamed up with Harper’s Bazaar to transform celebs into historical icons for that magazine’s September issue. The eye-popping editorial features everyone from Oprah Winfrey as Glinda the Good Witch to Katy Perry as Elizabeth Taylor to Dakota Johnson as Aphrodite on a skateboard.
The Paris-born Goude started his career at Esquire in the late ’60s and has gone on to delight the fashion industry with cheeky ads for brands like Azzedine Alaïa, Cacharel and Chanel — even as he’s drawn criticism from controversial interpretations of his images.
“Believe it or not, I don’t like to provoke,” Goude says. “[If I ever have] it was unconsciously.
“Though,” he adds, “political incorrectness can be fun.”
The bespectacled firebrand walks us through a few of his eye-popping photographs.
Marc Jacobs and Naomi Campbell reinvent the pas de deux
The longtime friends posed for Harper’s Bazaar in a quirky editorial spread following Jacobs’ second stint in rehab for substance abuse. The designer chose to show off his newly svelte and sober form in a frilly tutu. Meanwhile, a nearly nude Campbell stretches her hyper-glossy body in a pose that is at once athletic and almost torturous — familiar imagery for the photographer.
“Living proof that Naomi studied ballet,” Goude cracks about this photo.
Jessica Chastain gets saintly
For this 17-page package, “They asked me if I would be interested in shooting a story about fairy tales for Harper’s Bazaar,” Goude recalls. “I wasn’t too keen — too much of a fashion-photography cliché. I told them I’d prefer to make up my own metaphoric stories, and we settled for [the theme of] ‘icons.’ ”
While the magazine provided the talent — including Mariah Carey posing as Marie Antoinette and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Diana Vreeland — the celebrities chose their own icons.
“I like the Joan of Arc allegory,” he says of actress Jessica Chastain and her personal choice. “Individuality makes an icon. Joan of Arc inspires me because she fought against society’s constraints. She went against the grain.”
Grace Jones captivates her audience
Goude started dating singer and model Grace Jones in the late ’70s and she quickly became his muse (and the mother of his child, musician Paulo, born in 1979). The two were a fixture on the Manhattan disco scene, and this photo relates to that.
“For one night only, the idea was to turn [Roseland Ballroom] into one of New York’s most radical discos,” Goude recalls. “All sorts of freaks might show up. We had to protect the artist from being upstaged by the public . . . I had to feature her at her most intimidating.”
Though some find his collaborations with Jones exploitative, sexist and even racist, Goude says that this image represents “the tigress image that had been hers since she started singing.” Just don’t expect a future team-up from the ex-lovers, who split before their son was born.
“Despite the affection I have for her, I don’t think so,” Goude says. “She is too unpredictable.”
Naomi Campbell tames the beast
Shot in Knysna, South Africa, the “Wild Things” series included a picture of Campbell — herself known as a bit of a wild thing — riding an elephant, straddling a crocodile and racing a cheetah. This particular photo is what Goude calls “an homage to [photographer] Richard Avedon and Dovima,” referring to “Dovima with Elephants” — an iconic shoot of the supermodel with circus pachyderms in 1955.
Kim Kardashian embodies the term “bubble butt”
Goude loves big butts and he cannot lie. Plus, he’s high-minded about it.
“I think [Kim Kardashian’s] butt stacks up perfectly between Paleolithic sculptures like the Venus of Willendorf and [those from] ancient Greece,” he says. (The photographer shot a second pic of Kardashian naked, but sans champagne.)
Believe it or not, “I didn’t anticipate the fuss,” Goude adds of the Paper cover, which drew 6.6 million views on the magazine’s Web site in the days after it was released (not to mention countless amounts of talk-show and comedian jokes).
– The New York Post
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