Visual Culture

Peter Lindbergh, the photographer who made iconic images of supermodels, died at 74.

Jacqui Palumbo
Sep 6, 2019 2:09PM, via New York Times

Peter Lindbergh at the opening of an exhibition of his photographs in Turin, Italy. Photo by Giorgio Perottino/Getty Images.

Peter Lindbergh, whose photography career spanned over four decades, died on Tuesday at age 74. The German photographer, who was based in Paris, famously shot for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as luxury mainstays like Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Dior, and Lancôme. He was especially known for photographing supermodels in a more natural way, ushering in a new era of beauty in the 1990s. His photos exhibited internationally at Victoria & Albert in London; Centre Pompidou in Paris; Gagosian in London, Athens, and Paris; and MoMA PS1 in New York.

In 2016, Lindbergh spoke to The Guardian about the British Vogue cover of Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford that set the tone for the decade. He said:

I never had the idea that this was history. It came together very naturally, effortless; you never felt you were changing the world. It was all intuition.

That sense of effortlessness shone in his images, and fit the brands of the models who posed for him, from Crawford’s girl-next-door chic to Kate Moss’s devil-may-care attitude. “The idea of beauty had broadened,” Lindbergh told Vogue’s editor, Liz Tilberis, according to Crawford. The new woman of the era “could not be summed up with either a blonde, blue-eyed girl or a sexy brunette.”

Crawford continued:

There was change in the air and Peter and Liz picked up on that. We weren’t photographed with a ton of hair and make-up; we were quite undone. Coming out of the Eighties, which was all big hair and boobs pushed up, it felt refreshing and new.
Jacqui Palumbo
Jacqui Palumbo is a contributing writer for Artsy Editorial.
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