By now, you've surely seen Kim Kardashian's mission to break the internet. But what you might not know is that the photographer behind her PAPER Magazine cover, Jean-Paul Goude, has a long history of creating images that are just as striking.
In fact, that bottle-popping shot of Kim is actually based on an even more exposing photo Goude took back in 1976, "Carolina Beaumont," where the model's wearing no dress or pearls and her hair is pin-straight like a child playing with their hair in the bathtub.
Around that time, Goude met Grace Jones through the disco scene in New York, where he collaborated with the visionary on a series of iconic images and live shows.
That iconic physically impossible photo of Grace Jones that doubled as the artwork for her compilation Island Life? That was Goude.
If you're wondering how he and Grace Jones achieved that gravity-defying feat back before photoshop existed, My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog documented the clever way in which Goude was able to nail that image.
It didn't happen in one take. Instead Goude took a series of shots of Grace in similar positions which he cut and pasted to create Jones in a ballet move known as an Arabesque.
Though he was criticized at the time—and still is—for exoticizing African-American women in his work, a claim that wasn't helped by his book Jungle Fever, Goude's images of Grace Jones at least presented her as a strong female. In some ways, they were arguably feminist, with Goude broadening her shoulders and lengthening her neck so she appeared to be towering over the viewer. It's also hard to imagine Grace Jones, an innovator who did it all—production, recording, singing, acting, modeling—not being in full control of her image. (In the case of "Carolina Beaumont," the original image is certainly a conversation starter about race and femininity but, judging from that photo, the model looks like she's having just as much of a good time as Kim K.)
Goude's work with Grace Jones helped him leave his day job working as art director for Esquire and enter into the world of fashion and high-profile campaigns. In the '80s, Goude worked with everyone from Azzedine Alaïa to Cacharel and Chanel. One of his most famous ads for Chanel is a one-part noir, one-part surrealist commercial for their men's fragrance where a building of French women scream "Egoiste!" from their balconies.
Goude also received a lot of attention for his 1991 Coco by Chanel ad which starred a feather-covered Vanessa Paradis who played a song bird in a cage—the original Phoenix to Kanye's "Runaway." The ad arguably made Paradis' career.
Nowadays, Goude's work can be found in the glossy pages of Harper's Bazaar, Love, Vanity Fair, V. He still shoots campaigns as well for brands like Vionett and Kenzo. But, aside from Grace Jones, his post-aughts legacy will probably be owed more to Kim Kardashian.