The iconic German-born fashion photographer Peter Linbergh has died at the age of 74. He leaves behind his wife Petra and four sons. The legendary figure, who has been a credit and sculpting force to the fashion industry for over forty years, is known for his narrative and cinematic editorials, often shot in black and white.
Having moved to Paris in 1978, Lindbergh’s stratospheric career included covers for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone magazine, as well as an exclusive contract at the request of editor Liz Tillberis for American Harper’s Bazaar in 1992. His debateable swan song came in the form of British Vogue’s “Forces of Change” cover, which sought to celebrate pioneering women from Adwoa Aboah to Greta Thunberg, and was guest edited by duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle. From Lupita Nyong’O to Kate Moss (and with Daft Punk, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in between) there are few names worth their salt in the world of show business who haven’t been behind the skilled lens of Peter Lindbergh. His vast expanse of accolades include his 1995 and 1997 “Best Photographer” International Fashion Awards and being the first photographer in the 50 year span of the Pirelli Calender’s history to be asked back to shoot the infamous project three times.
Lindbergh was a steadfast advocate of portraying women in their natural, radiant beauty. He was opposed to Photoshop and debatably paved the way to a more acceptably celebrative attitude on Eau de' Naturale portraits and organic photographic outcomes. He believed photographers had a duty to portray women in a realistic way, and on excessive retouching asserts; “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”. While his death was announced over Instagram, Lindbergh was staunchly against the selfie and Instagram obsessed times we live in today, and was not shy in vocalising his vehement distaste; “I think that selfies are actually pretty much the stupidest thing that there is at all”. In an age of hectic vanity and self-obsession that has seeped even to the artists and photographers not just in fashion but the world, Lindbergh was truly one of the last authentic talents.
“The most important part of fashion photography, for me, is not the models; it’s not the clothes. It’s that you are responsible for defining what a woman today is. That, I think, is my job.”