Celebs pay tribute to late fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh

04 September 2019 - 15:41 By AFP Relaxnews
Visitors look at one of Peter Lindbergh's iconic fashion photographs during an exhibition of the photographer's work in 2007 in Berlin, Germany. (File photo.)
Visitors look at one of Peter Lindbergh's iconic fashion photographs during an exhibition of the photographer's work in 2007 in Berlin, Germany. (File photo.)
Image: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Peter Lindbergh, the German photographer credited with launching the careers of supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista, has died at age 74.

Lindbergh's stark black-and-white images of models and stars staring straight at the camera, which played with light and shadow, helped overturn glossy standards of beauty and fashion in the 1980s and 1990s.

Lindbergh was born in Lissa in western Poland in 1944. When he was a few months old his family fled the advance of Russian troops to southern Germany.

He grew up in the steel town of Duisburg, which he recalled as "the worst industrial, depressive part of Germany", only discovering the art world when he later moved to Berlin.

He shot the first ad campaign for the Volkswagen Golf and also worked with Stern magazine — renowned for its photography — before moving to Paris in the late 1970s.

It was his 1988 photo of a group of young women in white shirts and tousled hair on a beach in Malibu — a far cry from the big make-up, big-hair studio shoots of the day — that helped define his stark, cinematic style.

The new faces included Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Tatjana Patitz, all of whom would go on to become stars of the international catwalks.

A visitor looks at a portrait during a 2007 exhibition of fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh's work in Germany. Many of the models in this image would go on to become household names.
A visitor looks at a portrait during a 2007 exhibition of fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh's work in Germany. Many of the models in this image would go on to become household names.
Image: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Vogue editor at the time, who commissioned the shoot, was unhappy with the clean, natural look and tossed the picture aside.

But it was unearthed by Anna Wintour, who took over the magazine's helm a few months later and promptly hired Lindbergh for her first cover shoot.

'NO BEAUTY WITHOUT TRUTH'

Lindbergh also worked with Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar and The New Yorker magazine.

His aversion to touching up photographs to hide imperfections was legendary.

"There is no beauty without truth. All this fake making up of a person into something that is not them cannot be beautiful. It is just ridiculous," he said in November 2016 when launching the 2017 Pirelli calendar.

German photographer Peter Lindbergh in 2011.
German photographer Peter Lindbergh in 2011.
Image: AFP/Francois Guillot

For that feminist-friendly edition of a calendar long synonymous with languorous nudes, he roped in veteran stars Helen Mirren and Charlotte Rampling — aged 71 and 70 — as "a cry against the terror of perfection and youth".

CELEBRITY TRIBUTES

Many celebrities have taken to social media to express their sorrow at the iconic photographer's passing. 

Beyond calling Lindebergh "a genius and an absolute master of his craft", Charlize Theron tweeted that he was "one of the best human beings I have ever met".

In a touching Instagram post, famous fashion photographer Mario Testino recalled how Lindebergh helped kick start his career by introducing him to the "right" editor.

"People often think it is all about competition in our business, but he showed me how generous a photographer can be," said Tesino. "He has always been wonderful to me from that day on."

Meghan Markle paid tribute to the photographer via a post on the Sussex Royal Instagram account. He shot the portraits for the cover of the September issue of British Vogue, which the Duchess guest edited. The post reads "there is no other photographer [the Duchess] considered to bring this meaningful project to life".

Additional reporting by staff reporter.


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