Jean-Paul Goude – Jungle Fever

Jean-Paul Goude recently had a career retrospective exhibition at Les Arts Decoratifs that cemented his reputation as a photographer, illustrator, graphic designer and creative director. He began his career in the 60’s working as an illustrator for Printemps department stores before quickly progressing to become the art director for Esquire magazine in 1970. From here his fame and notoriety for creating groundbreaking imagery grew; he produced some of the most iconic and memorable editorial and commercial images of the 70’s and 80’s, including his unforgettable work with Grace Jones.

In 1983, he published Jungle Fever, a pictorial autobiography of his career to date. In the book, Goude divides his work in to chapters that show a clear progression in his work; sketches, works in progress and mock-ups are shown alongside the finished images to show how the image developed from concept to reality. Accompanying each chapter is an essay that describes the ideas behind the projects and also gives brief insights in to how his personal life and beliefs informed his work. The book clearly documents Goude’s interest in New York’s nightlife and the characters associated with it at a time when disco and clubs such as Studio 54 exploded on to the scene; it also shows Goude’s obsession with the female form and his use of collage and post-production to accentuate or contort his subjects in to impossible poses. The largest section of the book is of course dedicated to his work with Grace Jones, here we see the development of their working and personal relationship and how they created images and stage shows that are still referenced (and often unashamedly appropriated) to this day.

Jungle Fever has since become a seminal book in the fashion and editorial world with many artists and perfomers referencing it as a key inspiration for their work. The book is out of print and highly collectible; I was lucky enough to meet Goude a few years ago and he inscribed my copy.

(click images to enlarge)