News by Madeleine Oakley
September 3rd 2019 saw the passing of one of fashion’s most skilled and celebrated photographers. By rejecting airbrushed, stilted fashion images and opting for honest, intimate shots, Peter Lindbergh pioneered a new photography concept which celebrated natural beauty and personality.
Born in West Poland and raised in Germany, Lindbergh moved to Switzerland at 18 and then to Berlin where he became fascinated by art and music. His nonconformist attitude was made evident when he left the Berlin Fine Art Academy in favour of travel. He discovered photography by taking photos of his brother’s children, leading him to work as a photographer’s assistant and then to open his own studio in Paris in 1973. His first fashion shoot with Stern Magazine marked the beginning of his iconic fashion photography career.
Lindbergh most recently shot 15 famous faces for Vogue’s September 2019 ‘Forces For Change’ issue, where he was personally chosen by guest editor The Duchess of Sussex. Reflecting on the choice, she commented that there was “no other photographer considered to bring this meaningful project to life. His work is revered globally for capturing the essence of a subject and promoting healthy ideals of beauty, eschewing photoshopping, and preferring natural beauty with minimal makeup.”
Arguably Lindbergh’s most iconic Vogue cover was for the September 1990 issue where he photographed Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford, thus establishing them as Supermodels. It rejected the glamour and excess of the eighties and pioneered a new natural and inclusive beauty ideal. Crawford has since admitted: “I had no idea it was going to be so legendary”.
In addition to Vogue, Lindbergh has worked with publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar US. He is currently the only photographer to shoot a total of three Pirelli calendars and has also created memorable campaigns for Calvin Klein, Armani and Comme des Garçons.
Peter Lindbergh will always be remembered for his ability to redefine beauty ideals. He rejected the prolific retouched and overly staged fashion images of the eighties in favour of intimate photographs which allow a woman’s personality and uniqueness to be celebrated.
Featured image by Stefan Rappo