Photographers You Should Study

Peter Lindbergh: Pioneering Raw Beauty in Fashion Photography

German Photographer and Environmentalist

Peter Lindbergh

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Peter Lindbergh – Wikipedia

Peter Lindbergh [1944 – 2019] was a revolutionary German photographer and film director who left an indelible mark on the fashion industry with his stark, emotional, and cinematic images.

Born in Leszno, Poland (then Lissa, Germany), Lindbergh moved to Duisburg, where his interest in the arts took root.

He studied at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts and later moved to Paris to pursue photography.

Lindbergh is credited with inaugurating the era of the supermodel in the 1990s, capturing iconic images that emphasized natural beauty against minimalist backdrops.

His work, which often eschewed retouching, appeared in top-tier fashion magazines, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vanity Fair, challenging and transforming fashion photography’s standards and aesthetics.

Read the full Biography below.

Photography Quotes From Peter Lindbergh

Ansel Adams' quote on a dark background.
A portrait is never the person. What is captured, I think, is your relationship with the person. - Peter Lindbergh
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Before becoming a photographer, Peter Lindbergh studied abstract art at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts in the late 1960s. His early interest in art significantly influenced his photographic style, which is characterized by a minimalist approach and a focus on storytelling.

Videos about Peter Lindbergh

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He is credited with launching the careers of numerous supermodels in the 1990s. His January 1990 British Vogue cover is iconic, featuring Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Tatjana Patitz, which is often cited as the birth of the supermodel era.

Books by Peter Lindbergh

A woman smoking a cigarette in the style of Ansel Adams.
An Ansel Adams-style photo of a woman with freckles.
A woman posing for a picture in the style of Ansel Adams.
A book with text on it, featuring stunning photography by Ansel Adams.
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Unlike many of his contemporaries, Lindbergh was known for his staunch refusal to retouch his photographs to alter the appearance of his subjects. He believed in capturing the natural beauty and authenticity of the individual, which set him apart in an industry often criticized for promoting unrealistic beauty standards.

Biography of Peter Lindbergh

Early Life and Educational Background

Peter Lindbergh was born Peter Brodbeck on November 23, 1944, in Leszno, Poland, and grew up in Duisburg, Germany, in the aftermath of World War II. 

The industrial landscapes of his youth would later influence his distinctive photographic style. Lindbergh’s early interest in the arts led him to the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts, where he initially studied abstract art. 

Seeking a more immediate means of expression, he turned to photography, drawn by its capacity to capture the complexities of the human experience.

Artistic Development and Move to Paris

In the late 1970s, after honing his craft and establishing his vision, Lindbergh moved to Paris, the epicenter of fashion. 

It was here that he began to make his mark, challenging the prevailing norms of beauty and fashion photography with his stark, narrative-driven work.

Rise to Prominence in the Fashion Industry

Lindbergh’s breakthrough came in the early 1980s when his work for ‘Stern’ magazine caught the attention of the fashion world. 

His photographs, characterized by a focus on natural beauty, minimal makeup, and genuine emotion, offered a stark contrast to the glossy images that dominated the industry. 

Lindbergh’s approach resonated deeply, ushering in a new era of fashion photography that celebrated authenticity and emotional depth.

Iconic Works and Contributions to Fashion Photography

Lindbergh is best known for his January 1990 British ‘Vogue’ cover, which featured a group of then-emerging supermodels. 

This iconic image epitomized the era and cemented his status as a visionary who could capture and influence the zeitgeist. 

His work spans decades and includes timeless portraits of celebrities, models, and cultural figures, all marked by his signature aesthetic that blends rawness with elegance.

Photographic Style and Philosophy

Lindbergh’s photographic style is notable for its cinematic quality and its emphasis on storytelling. 

He often eschewed color in favor of black and white, believing it revealed the soul of the subject more profoundly. 

Throughout his career, Lindbergh remained committed to portraying his subjects with honesty and vulnerability, seeking the beauty in imperfection and the human condition.

Exhibitions, Awards, and Publications

Throughout his illustrious career, Lindbergh’s work was exhibited in prestigious institutions worldwide, and he received numerous accolades for his contributions to art and fashion. 

He published several books that compile his most significant works, offering insight into his creative process and the depth of his vision. 

These publications, alongside his editorial and commercial work, have left an indelible mark on the fields of photography and fashion.

Influence and Legacy

Lindbergh’s influence extends beyond the photographs he created. He is credited with redefining fashion photography, influencing generations of photographers with his humanistic approach and narrative depth. 

His legacy is one of compassion and innovation, characterized by a refusal to conform to superficial standards of beauty and a commitment to exploring the profound connections between individuals and their environments.

Later Years and Death

Peter Lindbergh continued to work and inspire until his death on September 3, 2019. 

His passing was mourned by many in the fashion industry and beyond, reflecting the wide-reaching impact of his work. 

Today, Lindbergh’s photographs continue to be celebrated for their timeless quality and emotional resonance, ensuring his place as one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.

Joe Edelman

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