THE GAZE OF PETER LINDBERGH

When the celebrated German photographer Peter Lindbergh  was asked by Vogue(Paris) what his definition of a beautiful woman is, he responded:

“I admire a strong sense of individuality, confidence and sensitivity.”
Peter Lindbergh

Interesting that a man who has photographed fashion models and celebrities for over three decades, talks not about surfaces – body shape or facial features – but about those other qualities that lurk under the skin: individuality, confidence and sensitivity.

Peter Lindbergh

“Looking at women has not simply to do with literal beauty, but more to do with presence, personality, their influence and power. I think that’s just such an exciting concept.”
therealpeterlindbergh with Helen Mirren

But then Lindbergh is not just any fashion photographer. His work is informed by a strong point of view, a philosophy you may say. His quest has been to ferret the “real” woman, to find some essence that then infuses his photographs.

Lindbergh’s long standing tirade against the retouching of images, and the false emptiness of photo-shopped perfection, has made him lean into a kind of nudeness. Hence his subjects are photographed in black and white, wearing little to no make-up.

“Black and white, you see under the skin, no?”   Harpers Bazaar

In the 1993 documentary Poet des Glamours Lindbergh’s warmth and charm are palpable, no doubt accounting for the the effusive affection that models universally express for him.

At the heart of the work is not fashion, but story-telling. The influence of German cinema on his photography, coupled with his aesthetic choices, imbue the images with depth; turn models into characters; depict individuality, confidence and sensitivity.

Karen Alexander photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, Oct 2016Caroline Eggert photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, May 1997Mariacarla Boscono photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue ItaliaTao Okamoto photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, October 2016

top to bottom:
Karen Alexander by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, October 2016
Caroline Eggert by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, May 1997
Mariacarla Boscono by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia
Tao Okamoto by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Italia, October 2016