Peter Lindbergh, the man known for shooting some of the most iconic images that propelled the careers of countless mega-supermodels has sadly passed, leaving a legendary legacy behind.
Lindbergh’s passing was confirmed in a post shared on his official Instagram account last Wednesday. His cause of death is not yet known.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Peter Lindbergh on September 3rd 2019, at the age of 74,” the message read.
Lindbergh’s photography shaped the 90s fashion industry, otherwise known as fashion’s Golden Age, and directly facilitated the rise of household names such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and many more.
His work is what can be described as the sliver of raw, honest and untouched beauty in an industry that celebrates retouching the authenticity out of images.
Lindbergh once said: “A fashion photographer should contribute to defining the image of the contemporary woman or man in their time, to reflect a certain social or human reality. How surrealistic is today’s commercial agenda to retouch all signs of life and of experience, to retouch the very personal truth of the face itself?”
Lindbergh was born in Nazi-occupied Leszno, western Poland in 1944. After his family was forced to flee, he spent his childhood Duisburg, Germany and left school at 14 to work as a window dresser at a local department store.
At 18 he moved to Switzerland to avoid military service and eventually settled in Berlin and enrolled at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts where he fell in love with art and music.
Lindbergh told The Guardian in 2016: “I was like a dry towel, I sucked up everything.”
Lindbergh left the Berlin Academy in a very Van Gogh-like fashion to hitchhike his way to Arles, then through Europe and North Africa, where he spent eight months painting and selling his work at local markets.
Returning to Berlin, he worked as an assistant to German photographer Hans Lux for two years, before opening his first photography studio in 1973. From there, Lindbergh honed his talent and signature style of photography, landing his first ad campaign for VW Golf, then his first fashion shoot for Stern magazine in 1978.
Lindbergh, whose permanent home became Paris, continued to work in relative privacy as he continued to challenge industry standards and urged the public to concentrate on his work not his private life.
As one of the most prolific photographers of his generation, Lindbergh’s career spanned almost 50 years and saw him capturing the essence and humanity of his subjects in a way that is yet to be matched in the industry.
His trademark work, showcasing typically bare-faced models in black-and-white, is both timeless and revolutionary.
“It was time to question that stereotype and move towards a kind of beauty more linked to the personality of the woman rather than the status symbol…..This should be the responsibility of photographers today: to free women, and finally everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection,” Lindbergh said.
Prior to his passing, Lindbergh had shot portraits of the women who appeared on the cover of British Vogue’s September issue of 2019, which was guest-edited by the Duchess Meghan of Sussex.
The Duchess paid tribute to Lindbergh on Thursday, on her official Instagram account shared with her husband, Prince Harry.
View this post on Instagram
Honouring the life and work of photographer Peter Lindbergh. His work is revered globally for capturing the essence of a subject and promoting healthy ideals of beauty, eschewing photoshopping, and preferring natural beauty with minimal makeup. The Duchess of Sussex had worked with Peter in the past and personally chose him to shoot the 15 women on the cover for the September issue of British Vogue, which she guest edited. There is no other photographer she considered to bring this meaningful project to life. • “Forces for Change” was the one of the esteemed photographer’s final published projects. He will be deeply missed. Photo © @therealpeterlindbergh / © SussexRoyal
Take a look at Lindbergh’s iconic images below in tribute of the great photographer.
Photo Credit: Peter Lindbergh
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