Brigitte Bardot, ‘Portrait’


By Douglas Kirkland
México. 1965
Signed archival pigment print
Paper size 40h x 40w inches
Edition fo 24

‘United Artists sent me to México with Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau for ‘Viva Maria!’ There had been so many photographers there that the filming was not getting done so they closed the set and I was the only one who was allowed to shoot.’ Douglas Kirkland. The blonde bombshell, ‘B.B.’ Brigitte Bardot, a phenomenon of French New Wave cinema, considered by some as the sex symbol of the 20th century, is captured by Kirkland in Mexico City in 1965 during the filming of Viva Maria! Douglas Kirkland was brought on as a special photographer for the movie and spent time shooting Bardot and co-star Jeanne Moureau. Kirkland’s portraits of Bardot capture her natural eroticism, pictures of an unrestricted youth full of desire, evoking a sexuality not forced but felt. Bardot’s unapologetic sexuality created a force that inspired the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

With gazes that seems to look through the viewer and into the beyond, Kirkland’s photos of Bardot symbolise the profound effect the actress would have on Hollywood censorship. Bardot’s rebellious attitude towards traditional depictions of femininity helped break down barriers for the public and society at large. French feminist writer and theorist Simone de Beauvoir declared her the first and most liberated woman of post-war France.

Douglas Kirkland has been at the cutting edge of fashion, photojournalism and portraiture, working for the world’s most reputable magazines, for more than fifty years. As a young photographer in 1961 he was assigned to shoot Marilyn Monroe. His work ranges from exquisite nudes to powerful portraits of the notable and the notorious, from photo-journalism to the catwalk and is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Houston Center for Photography and the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. Kirkland remains in demand today by international magazines such as Vanity Fair and is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Awards from numerous bodies including the highly valued Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement. When not traveling the globe on assignment, he lives in the Hollywood Hills with his wife and business partner Françoise.

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