Legendary photographer Peter Lindbergh has died

The German photographer, who propelled the supermodels to fame, passed away yesterday at the age of 74

We are sad to report that Peter Lindbergh has passed away at the age of 74. 

Having studied at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts in the early 1960s, the legendary photographer began his career after moving to Düsseldorf in 1971, where he assisted photographer Hans Lux. In 1973, he opened his own studio, before joining Stern magazine. There, he worked alongside contemporaries including Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin

In the years following, Lindbergh shot for a huge number of fashion publications and is credited with launching the careers of the supermodels. In 1990, the photographer shot Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington wearing simple white shirts and little make-up as part of what is now considered one of British Vogue’s most iconic covers.   

Shooting largely in black and white, Lindbergh redefined standards of beauty within fashion. Renowned for his realism and aversion to retouching at a time when the industry’s attitude was ‘more is more’, his photographs allowed his subject’s personality and spirit to shine through, as he paved the way for those that came after him.  

Having shot the Pirelli calendar twice, first in 1996 and then in 2002, Lindbergh returned to shoot it for the third time in 2017 - making history as the only person to photograph it three times. For his final iteration, he opted to capture the likes of Uma Thurman, Julianne Moore, Rooney Mara, and Lea Seydoux without any make-up or retouching. 

“My aim was to portray women in a different way. As an artist, I feel I’m responsible for freeing women from the idea of eternal youth and perfection,” he explained at the time. “The ideal of perfect beauty promoted by society is something that simply can’t be attained.” It is a statement that would define his entire career.

Throughout the course of his five decade-long career, Lindbergh captured everyone from Kate Moss and Greta Thunberg, to Vanessa Paradis and Franca Sozzani. He was also behind the movie poster for cult vampire movie The Hunger, featuring David Bowie, Susan Sarandon, and Catherine Deneuve, as well as a number of album covers by the likes of Beyoncé and Daft Punk

Lindbergh was and will remain a beloved figure within fashion, with the impact of his uniquely beautiful, boundary-pushing imagery the source of inspiration for generations to come. Our thoughts are with all those who knew and loved him. As the Instagram post which announced his passing said, he really does leave a big void.