Icons / September 2019

Peter Lindbergh: Facts in Black & White

Discussing art and commerce, truth and beauty, we recently had the privilege of interviewing the legendary photographer, who sadly passed away this week.

One of the most influential fashion photographers and portraitists of the modern era, Peter Lindbergh died on 3 September 2019, aged 74. The Polish-born, German-raised lensman pioneered a natural, casual, unretouched look that starkly contrasted the artificial, heavily made-up and airbrushed styling prevalent in glossy magazines for much of the 20th century.

In iconic early-’90s shoots for British and US Vogue, Lindbergh not only discovered the supermodels — he also liberated them from the bouffant hairstyles, de trop cosmetics, prissy settings and frou-frou garments that were de rigeur in the 1980s. His cover editorial for the January 1990 issue of British Vogue not only made the names of Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Tatjana Patitz. Equally, but served as an aesthetic manifesto for Lindbergh.

When I interviewed him late last year, Lindbergh said, “My ideal was always a woman in just jeans, a t-shirt or shirt, and tennis shoes, with her hair tied back simply, like this.” He clapped his hands. “That’s it. The supermodels were a big deal, a social reaction against the images of women in magazines before then — that old concept of rich ‘sophistication’, a ‘nice’ apartment, furs, diamond earrings, all this kind of thing. It looked so false, like a painting. I hated that and I couldn’t photograph that.”

 

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.