Peter Lindbergh’s photography has been published by every major international fashion magazine and he has been commissioned for the campaigns of the worlds’ leading fashion designers, from Giorgio Armani, Dior and Prada to Donna Karan and Calvin Klein.
Peter Lindbergh’s instinct for photography is that of someone who could have been born with a camera in his hand, but the truth is that he didn’t pick up a camera until he was 27 years old, after which he was under the tutelage of advertising photographer Hans Lux. ‘I got into fashion photography by accident,’ Lindbergh elaborates, ‘I did advertising photography for five years. Then one day a magazine editor called me and said that my advertising didn’t look like advertising. He gave me a fashion story. I did it, then Stern saw it and gave me fourteen pages.’ Then it was on to Marie Claire, Vogue and when Liz Tilberis began editing Harper’s Bazaar, she brought in Lindbergh and Patrick Demarchelier for a small fortune, which in turn starting a bidding war that has benefited even those who stayed with Condé Nast, like Steven Meisel.
Describing his work, American Photo has said: “The most important quality in Peter Lindbergh’s fashion photography is a forthright, almost shocking honesty. His models seem to open themselves emotionally to his camera. Amid the artifice, they seem real.”
He is considered to be one of the world’s preeminent fashion photographers and is credited with helping create the supermodel phenomenon of the 1990s.
He made a major contribution to the optical creation of this worldwide myth with his book Ten Women. Published in 1996, Lindbergh devoted one chapter each to ten of the most beautiful and most celebrated models of the time: Naomi Campbell, Helen Christensen, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Kristen McMenamy, Kate Moss, Tatjana Patitz, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington and Amber Valetta.
Lindbergh is also a distinguished television commercial director. Many of his commercials have involved such fragrances as Guerlain “Champs-Elysées” with Sophie Marceau, Calvin Klein,” Eternity” with Christy Turlington, Jil Sander “No.4,” with Linda Evangelista, Giorgio Armani “Gio,” Lancome “Tresor,” Coty “Manifesto” with Isabella Rossellini, and Karl Lagerfeld’s “Sun Moon Stars” with Daryl Hannah. He directed his first documentary-length film in 1991. “Models-The Film,” was shot in New York with Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz and Stephanie Seymour.
He photographed the 1996 Pirelli Calendar with Nastassja Kinski, Tatjana Patitz, Carré Otis, Eva Herzigova, Kristen McMenamy and Navia, and the 2002 Pirelli Calendar with among others Brittany Murphy, Mena Suvari, Kiera Chaplin and Selma Blair.
Among the many personalities he has photographed are Hilary Swank, Sharon Stone, Bernardo Bertolucci, Catherine Deneuve, Brad Pitt, Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman, John Malkovich, Charlotte Rampling, Samuel Jackson, Joaquin Cortès, Madonna, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Gena Rowland, John Travolta, Pamela Anderson, Antonio Banderas, Milla Jovovich, Cate Blanchett, Connie Nielsen, Adrien Brody, Asia Argento, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Diane Lane, Jennifer Lopez, Jeanne Moreau, Vincent Perez, Penelope Cruz, Chiara Mastroianni, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Scarlett Johanssen, Kirk Douglas, Dennis Hopper, James Coburn, Salma Hayek and Pedro Almodovar.
In 1997, he was presented the International Fashion Awards prize for Best Photographer, conferred in Paris by a jury of over 400 of the most important names in the fashion industry. His collaborators, Make-Up Artist Stephane Marais and Hair Stylist Odile Gilbert were also awarded the top distinction in their fields.
Lindbergh was honored with the same award in 1995, when he also became an Honorary Member that year of the highly exclusive German Art Directors Club. In October, 1996, in Berlin, he was conferred the Raymond Loewy Foundation’s Award, Europe’s most important design honor.
Peter Lindbergh seems to be quite taken with this no-makeup, minimal-to-no retouching concept: In April, he captured Eva Herzigova, Ines de la Fressange, and a slew of European actresses without makeup or retouching for French Elle. A month after, he told the New York Times that he was tired of subjects in fashion magazines looking like overly-Photoshopped “objects from Mars”: “My feeling is that for years now it has taken a much too big part in how women are being visually defined today. Heartless retouching should not be the chosen tool to represent women in the beginning of this century.
Lindbergh continues to lead the charge against excessive retouching, this time by capturing supermodels Amber Valletta, Nadja Auermann, Helena Christensen, Shalom Harlow, Claudia Schiffer, Tatjana Patitz, Cindy Crawford, and Kristen McMenamy without makeup or excessive retouching for Harper’s Bazaar‘s September 2009 issue.
Considered one of the great masters of black and white photography, Peter Lindbergh is acclaimed for his cinematic images, which have redefined the world of fashion photography with their compelling realism, lack of pretension and ineffable depth of emotion.
My favourite is the one of the girls on the beach in their white shirts, having fun and looking carefree, enjoying themselves.
Ciao for now,