Peter Lindbergh, Fashion Photographer, Dies at 74


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Peter Lindbergh was a pillar of the contemporary fashion photography who played a key role in bringing in the supermodel era in the 1990s died in Paris on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. He was 74 years old.

Lindbergh’s death was announced on Wednesday on his official Instagram. The cause of his death was not given.

His career spanned four decades, and Lindbergh became one of the best-known names in fashion photography. He propelled the careers of supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington Burns with his cinematic and naturalistic portraits in black and white.

Lindbergh’s work regularly appeared on the covers of magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue and has been featured in museums worldwide. Additionally, he published several books displaying his photography.

His most recent high-profile assignment was to photograph15 notable subjects in monochrome, including the climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg, actress Jane Fonda, and model Adut Akech for the September issues of British Vogue. The magazine was edited by special guest Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

Edward Enninful, the editor of British Vogue said, “His ability to see real beauty in people, and the world, was ceaseless, and will live on through the images he created.”

According to The New York Times, Lindbergh conveyed “a timeless, humanistic romanticism in his work, producing instantly recognizable imagery in advertising campaigns for luxury industry names like Giorgio Armani, Dior, Donna Karan, Prada, Lancȏme, and Calvin Klein.”

Lindbergh’s work was closely linked to the rise of the supermodel era. His most famous work from that time period was his January 1990 British Vogue cover. It was a group portrait of Campbell, Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, and Tatjana Patitz. They assembled for the shoot in lower Manhattan.

He photographed some of the women in a Malibu beach, two years earlier for American Vogue. Lindbergh also gathered some of these women together to shoot the cover for Vogue’s new editor-in-chief Anna Wintour in 1998.

Of the British Vogue cover, Lindbergh stated, “It was a new generation, and that new generation came with a new interpretation of women. It was the first picture of them together as a group. I never had the idea that this was history. Never for one second.”

The photoshoot inspired the video for George Michael’s 1990 song, “Freedom.” The video featured five models and made them household names.

Lindbergh was born Peter Brodbeck on Nov. 23, 1944, to German parents in Leszno, Poland. When he was only 2 months old, Russian troops forced the family to fell. They settled in Duisburg, Germany. The center of the steel industry.

The industrial backdrop would later become an inspiration for Lindbergh’s photography. His high-fashion shoots would take place on fire escapes or street corners with cameras and lights on display.

At the age of 14, Lindbergh left school to work for a retailer. Later, he moved to Berlin to study art at the Academy of Fine Arts. He began his photography career by accident, after learning he enjoyed taking pictures of his nieces and nephews.

He set up a photo studio in 1971 after he moved to Düsseldorf. While there, he learned of another photographer named Peter Brodbeck and changed his last name to Lindbergh. He was successful in Düsseldorf and decided to further his career in Paris, in 1978.

There is a documentary about his life entitled, “Peter Lindbergh – Women’s Stories.” It is directed by Jean-Michael Vecchiet and released this year.

Lindbergh divided his time between New York, Paris, and Arles, in the south of France. He is survived by his wife Petra, four sons, Benjamin, Jeremy, Joseph, and Simon. He also left behind seven grandchildren.

By Jeanette Smith


The New York Times: Peter Lindbergh, Photographer Who Captured Rise of the Supermodel, Dies at 74
CNN: Fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh has died, age 74

Image Courtesy of Simon Bierwald’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License