Peter Lindbergh - The Supermodel Maker
PETER LINDBERGH - A NEW VISION ON PHOTOGRAPHY
Team PLEIN PUBLIQUE went on an excursion (How cute ... excursion ...) to the Kunsthal in Rotterdam for a lecture and exhibition about none other than Peter Lindbergh *. "Peter Who?" we can hear you think. Maybe not a name that you recognize immediately, but you definitely know his work. Peter Lindbergh is the fashion photographer who is partly responsible for the creation of the concept of Supermodel. Supermodels like in Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and so on. Yep!
Now the penny drops, right? Because anyone who ever reads a fashion magazine knows his famous photos; pure and characteristic portraits of supermodels, actresses and pop stars. Anyone who matters has been in front of his camera at one point or another. Uh…. everyone? Well to be fair, only those with a pretty face. For us, the more regular (wo)man matters too, but his/her looks don't have much news value in those circles. But really, every Lindbergh shoot guarantees a breathtaking result.
How it all started? We'll catch you right up.
Peter Lindbergh (born Peter Brodbeck, but changed his last name due to a badass reputation from a fellow Brodbeck) began his career as a photographer with the main goal; his livelihood. He was infected by the commercial success of a friend; photography makes money. The step to fashion as a specialization came after a series of assignments for the French Marie-Claire. Because that went well, was received positively, and the requests started pouring in. Doesn't mean he was "everyone's photographer"; he developed his own taste and was not afraid to refuse an assignment if it did not match his style.
So it happened that he boldly declined an assignment from Vogue
Yep, the man has balls. The reason? The style image of Vogue was in "eighties". Too much color, too much hair, too much makeup, too much …… .. everything. Of course, Vogue was not amused. Who did that guy think he was?! Still, they persisted in nagging until Peter finally agreed. Buttt …… on his own terms. He had a sober and pure concept in mind in which the main role was not reserved for the clothes, but for the models. We now think that is the most normal thing in the world, but it was not the case at the time. Vogue accepted that, and he was given full creative freedom. He had an assistant arrange simple white shirts, paid tribute to a bunch of beautiful but certainly not top of the bill models in the white shirts and wrote history with these photo's. Not immediately, by the way, because Vogue in the first instance rejected the photos. No way! Yes way! Sweet revenge on his earlier refusal? We will never know……. The moment of success only came when Vogue's new editor-in-chief - someone named A. Wintour - published the photos.
Then all hell broke loose; his career soared and the girls became Supermodels in one fell swoop. A new era in fashion photography dawned. Often copied, often imitated, but never equaled; there was - and is - only one Peter Lindbergh. Whoever appeared in front of his camera; they sparkled, inspired, glorified, and surfed his wave of success and fame. He could literally make and break careers.
A few examples
Peter Lindberg - The supermodel maker * The then relatively unknown Linda “for-less-than-$-10,000-I-won't-get-out-of-bed” Evangelista was his muse. Photogenic, beautiful and successful, but there were so many of those. And he had seen all the looks and angles of her face by now. Peter himself persuaded Linda to cut her long hair for a more innovative image, an absolute no-go in the big hair dominated eighties. But just after that, her career took off to astronomical heights in one fell swoop.
* Or, for example, a very young Naomi Campbell wrapped in nothing more than a bunch of silver bracelets? This photo appeared in Vogue Italia, 1988 and the magazine sold out in record time.
A very young Kate Moss stood in front of Peter Lindbergh's camera very early. Madonna didn't have time, so Kate stood in ...
And Kate Moss today. Cool-elegant attitude and with a cigarette? Iconic photo moment.
And maybe a slightly less famous photo, but - for pretty obvious reasons - BREIZH's personal favorite; a beautiful shot of Christy Turlington in…. tadaaaa…. the classic, the Breton stripe.
The photos are almost always in black and white, because Peter is very clear about that; it underlines one's natural beauty and character, without the distraction of color and spectacle. And no retouch. He is strict about that too. A man after our heart.
Chrs Nicole & Ilse
- The exhibition in the art hall is now over.