“Photography gives you the opportunity to use your sensibility and everything you are to say something about and be part of the world around you. In this way, you might discover who you are, and with a little luck, you might discover something much larger than yourself.”
You know a Lindbergh image the moment you see it. It’s Amber Valletta with tousled curls in a white suit, walking down a New York street wearing a pair of oversized angel wings. It’s Kate Moss in overalls against a wooden fence; barefaced, steely-eyed. It’s the supers – Estelle, Karen Alexander, Rachel, Linda, Tatjana and Christy – wearing nothing but men’s white button down shirts, holding each other close on the Malibu sands. Raw, intimate, evocative and untouched; developed in his signature black and white. Yes, that’s a Lindbergh.
German-born artist Peter Lindbergh was responsible for some of fashion photography’s most iconic moments. He studied at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts, and the Krefeld College of Art, before opening a studio of his own in 1973. After relocating to Paris to pursue a career in the heart of the fashion industry, he captured campaigns for the likes of Christian Dior, Prada, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Lancôme, and is the only photographer to shoot the Pirelli Calendar three times. His work can now be found in numerous permanent collections around the world, including London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, and Paris’s Centre Pompidou.
Synonymous with the 90s, Lindbergh’s stills helped launch the era (and cement the status) of the supermodel, and his ability to capture women in seemingly unguarded and un-stylised moments redefined modern fashion photography. He spoke publicly against the use of heavy airbrushing, telling reporters, “This should be the responsibility of photographers today, to free women, and finally everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection.”
With news of Peter Lindbergh’s passing at the age of 74, we celebrate the contribution his creativity had to shaping the industry as we know it, and the rich legacy he leaves behind. May his work continue to allow us to discover something much larger than ourselves.