Filipino Photographers Pay Tribute To The Legendary Peter Lindbergh
Drawing inspiration from the one-of-a-kind artist, they share how he has influenced them
What is heaven's gain is the fashion, art and photography world's loss.
Peter Lindbergh, one of the most revered fashion photographers who ever lived, passed away on September 3 in Paris at the age of 74. He leaves behind an enormous portfolio that will forever embody his spirit of kindness, genuineness, and artfulness, both as a photographer and a human being.
As his work and his groundbreaking approach to fashion photography reached far and wide, Peter went on to inspire photographers across the globe and influence their own styles—including some of Manila's most sought-after lensmen.
Top photographers Raymund Isaac, Rxandy Capinpin, and Seven Barretto look back to when they first discovered Peter and his work and share what they loved most about the legend's photography style:
"I have to confess Peter Lindbergh was an icon I would follow and copy in my early years. His definitive fashion editorial not only influenced young photographers like me, but he also changed the way fashion was perceived by the public. He would break the fourth wall of photography and manage to keep it clean, stylish and classic. The world needs more of him."
"Ritts, Avedon, Penn, now Lindbergh. Another icon has left us. May the rise of the supermodels photo shoot be always in our hearts and in our moodboards. I like the purity of his un-retouched photos."
"It’s sir Lindbergh's eye for revolutionary photography and humanism that makes his photographs what they are. The rawness and how he plays with light and shadow make his works unique."
Their memories of Peter echo the sentiments of those who had the privilege of working with Peter or hearing him speak his thoughts about his craft; the man made his name in the industry for being the first of his kind, pushing for radical changes in fashion photography and the way his subjects, women in particular, were presented to audiences.
Specifically, Peter will forever be remembered for his dramatic black and white photography and more importantly, for pioneering a natural look in his work.
He hated the idea of smoothening out faces, lengthening legs, tapering wastes and retouching bodies in any and all ways. Peter believed in showing off the realness of his subjects, believing that there was beauty to be found in who they truly were. He mastered the science and art of shadows and lights, perfecting how these elements could sculpt features and bring out the best in them, preferring this technique over any photo editing tools afforded to him.
It was a subversive concept in the industry when Peter broke into the scene in the late 80s and 90s—decades defined by heavily made up models, glossy perfection, and flawless finishes. Yet, Peter insisted on carving his own path, mastering his style in order to convince the world that authenticity was the truest standard of beauty there could ever be.
And for those hoping to reach the heights that Peter did in his four-decade career, remember, too, that he had worked hard and experienced rejection before finding his lucky stars.
One of Peter's most famous photographs—a shot of now-supermodels that included Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, and Christy Turlington having a good laugh on the shores of Malibu beach in plain white shirts—was rejected when he first submitted it for its lack of the era's signature va-va-voom elements in beauty and fashion. It was only when Vogue's Anna Wintour rediscovered it that it saw the light of the day and spurred what would be Peter's iconic photographic style.
It didn't take long for other publications to catch on after that and in a wink, Peter was being commissioned left and right by Harper's Bazaar, The New York Times, and Vogue's many international iterations as well as by luxury brands Dior, Calvin Klein, and Louis Vuitton, among many others.
He would also go on to be the only photographer to shoot the Pirelli Calendar three times.
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As for the celebrities, society personalities, and actresses he had worked with, the list is endless.
His portfolio includes the likes of Naomi Campbell, Nicole Kidman, Lady Gaga, Helen Mirren, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Emma Watson, Charlize Theron, Tilda Swinton, Ethan Hawke, Robert Pattinson, Bradley Cooper, and so many more notable figures.
Peter's last ever shoot was with British Vogue's September issue that was guest edited by Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and featured 15 influential women from different industries dubbed as "Forces For Change."
Those who knew Peter best will say that it was an apt farewell to the world; as a fashion photographer who took it upon himself to give women reasons to be proud of who they were and resist the pressure to abandon their true selves to fit into a certain mold, it was beautiful for Peter to helm a project of such relevance and subject matter that had personal significance.
It was indeed a life well-lived and although Peter leaves behind a void that can never be filled, his work will continue to tell his stories and push the principles that guided him until the very end.
Photos from @therealpeterlindbergh