Peter Lindbergh portrait (detail) © Ward Ivan Rafik

Peter Lindbergh /   Peter Brodbeck

Germany 1944 - 2019


Peter Lindbergh
Peter Brodbeck
February 6, 2017
Nina Karaicic is a journalist with experience in TV and radio media. Born in 1989, she had studied at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences (Journalism). Interests: Photography, Art, Film, Folklore, Video Games

Among the usual suspects responsible for the phenomenon of ‘supermodel’, Peter Lindbergh was arguably the guiltiest one. The 1988 photo shoot that included Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, and Linda Evangelista, then-not-so-known but very hip models, as they cavorted on the beach for Vogue, wearing nothing but men’s button-downs, became iconic and marked the birth of a new era. An era in which the viewers were finally able to connect with these amazing wonders of nature, to fixate and dream of them. And even before then (and after, of course), his work is synonymous with a certain feeling, a palpable tenderness in the manner in which he treated his subjects, not as “girls” (as is so often used in fashion parlance) or as clothes hangers or as another object in the frame, but as women, with all of the inner life and mystery that the word implies.[1]

Peter Lindbergh – Natalia Vodianova from the Images of Women II- 2005–2014
Peter Lindbergh – Natalia Vodianova from the Images of Women II: 2005–2014 -Image via

Peter Lindbergh – Personal Life

Born in Lissa, Reichsgau Wartheland, Germany (Leszno, Poland) as Peter Brodbeck, Lindbergh grew up in Duisburg. Before enrolling at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts in the early 1960’s, he worked a window dresser working in a local department store. He actively sought out van Gogh’s won inspirations (rather than painting the mandatory themes such as portraits and landscapes taught in various art schools), and inspired by the work of the Dutch master, Lindbergh moved to Arles for almost a year before embarking on a journey hitchhiking through North Africa and Spain. Influenced by Joseph Kosuth and the Conceptual movement, he later studied free painting at the College of Art in Krefeld, where he was invited to present is work at the renowned avant-garde Galerie Denise René – Hans Mayer in 1969, before his graduation. Lindbergh’s focus shifted towards photography after moving to Düsseldorf in 1971, where he spent the next two years working as an assistant to German photographer Hans Lux. In 1973, the artist opened his own studio. Over time, he became quite well known in his native country and joined Stern along with other photographers such as Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, and Hans Feurer. In 1988, while working on a story for American Vogue, the artist made an iconic photograph that included Estelle Lefébure, Karen Alexander, Rachel Williams, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz and Christy Turlington. However, Grace Mirabella, the magazine’s editor at the time, was not impressed. In a lucky turn of events (lucky for Lindberg, at least), Mirabella was sacked quickly after, and Anna Wintour took over, promptly choosing Lindbergh to shoot her first cover. Michaela Bercu, an Israeli model, was chosen to feature the cover and the way he captured her was a clear signal of the change that began in Vogue itself, but also in the fashion world. She is laughing, her eyes squinting in the sun. If she is wearing make-up, it is minimal. Her midriff, below a bejeweled Christian Lacroix top, is bare, and she is wearing jeans.[2]

Peter Lindbergh has a unique approach to photography

Peter Lindbergh - Pharrell Williams, 2016
Peter Lindbergh – Pharrell Williams – Image via

A Different View on Fashion Photography

His solo show, A Different View on Fashion Photography, on display at Kunsthal Rotterdam in 2016 and 2017[3], shared its name with his book, which covers the story of the beginning of a new fashion era and a new understanding of female beauty.[4] Speaking of his artistic approach, there is an undeniable personal nature to Lindbergh’s photography – his focus on the eyes of his subjects, on their energy, the way in which women blossom under his lens – that reaches for a kind of beauty that exists beyond the surface. What differentiates this particular show from the previous ones is the fact that it is organized by the artist’s influences and obsessions: dance, cinema, conceptual art, fashion, supermodels, and even UFOs. And what makes his work distinctive is a simple fact – Peter Lindbergh does not believe in any one standard of beauty. “He empowers women with his lens. He believes in pluralistic beauty and cherishes what he calls “traces of life.” Wrinkles, different body shapes, and life stories are important to him. He is inspired by people, not at all by their social status and their fortune or level of fame.” There is also a sense of timelessness to his images, as Thierry-Maxime Loriot (a curator of the exhibition and the author of the book’s essay – introduction) explained in his Vogue interview: “Lindbergh is not attracted to trends at all. He does not go to fashion shows or read fashion magazines on purpose. He prefers to create his own world, reference-free. So if military looks are in one season, you will never have it in his images!”[5] What is amazing about the photographer is, and the book only confirms this – he has remained unwavering in vision. There is only his largely monochrome simplicity, his penchant for realism, and above else, his desire to capture the emotional truth of his subjects.[6] The process of capturing the invisible part within his subjects is Lindbergh’s ultimate goal as a photographer.

He is widely known as a fashion photographer

Peter Lindbergh Berlin books from 2017 are on facebook and instagram
Peter Lindbergh – Tilda Swinton – Image via


Lindbergh’s role in the birth of the supermodel era is well established. And yet, what he really did is beyond even that, helping photography to evolve. He redefined the standards of what is considered beautiful with timeless images, introducing a form of new realism. By focusing on the soul and personality, he applied a humanist approach that sets him apart from other (Vogue) photographers. His refusal to use retouching techniques in these times is almost unthinkable, and at the same time, it provides something else that makes his models interesting, something that supersedes their age. Lindbergh was the first photographer to include a narrative in his series, bringing a new vision and enriching both art and fashion photography.

Peter Lindbergh died in 2019 at the age of 74. He was represented by Gagosian Gallery.


  1. Codinha A. Exclusive! Peter Lindbergh on His Women, His New Book, and What Makes a Photograph Iconic, The Vogue [October 17,2016]
  2. Blanchard T. Peter Lindbergh: ‘I don’t retouch anything’, The Guardian [October 17,2016]
  3. Anonymous. Peter Lindbergh: A Different Vision on Fashion Photography, Kunsthal Rotterdam [October 17,2016]
  4. Lindbergh P. and Loriot T. M. Peter Lindbergh: A Different Vision on Fashion Photography, Taschen Books, Cologne, 2016
  5. Plummer T. Inside “Peter Lindbergh: A Different Vision on Fashion Photography”, Vogue [October 17,2016]
  6. Mullen M. Peter Lindbergh, Interview Magazine [October 17,2016]

Featured image: Peter Lindbergh – portrait – photo credits Ward Ivan Rafik
All other images copyright Peter Lindbergh

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Peter Lindbergh - A Different Vision On Fashion PhotographyKunsthal Rotterdam, RotterdamSolo
2016Peter LindberghGagosian Gallery, Athens, GreeceSolo
2015Coming into Fashion. Un siglo de fotografia en Conde NastMuseo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey (MARCO), Monterrey, MexicoGroup
2015Vogue like a painting Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, MadridGroup
2014Peter LindberghGagosian Gallery, ParisSolo
2014Peter Lindbergh - Images Of Women & The UnknownHDLU - Croatian Association of Artists, ZagrebSolo
2014LoveCamera Work, BerlinGroup
2014The Cal - Collezione PirelliPalazzo Reale, MilanGroup
2014Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Conde NastNorton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FLGroup
2014Supermodels – Then and NowCWC Gallery, BerlinGroup
2014The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier From the Sidewalk to the CatwalkBarbican Art Gallery, LondonGroup
2013Peter Lindbergh - BerlinMaison de la Photographie, LilleSolo
2013Visualleader 2013 - Das Beste aus Zeitungen, Zeitschriften und InternetDeichtorhallen Hamburg, HamburgGroup
2013Traumfrauen - Traummanner - 50 Starfotografen zeigen ihre Vision vom IdealKunsthalle Rostock, RostockGroup
2013Camera Work RocksCamera Work, BerlinGroup
2013Vanity - Fashion Photography from the F.C. Gundlach CollectionNational Museum in Cracow - Muzeum Narodowe w Krakowie, KrakowGroup
2013Beauty In The 21St Century Dream Women - Dream MenMAMM - Multimedia Art Museum, MoscowGroup
2013Collectible IiiA. Galerie, ParisGroup
2013Coming Into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Conde Nast - FormaCentro Internazionale di Fotografia, MilanGroup
2012Known and The UnknownGalleria Carla Sozzani, MilanSolo
2012Peter LindberghNRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, DusseldorfSolo
2012Charlotte Rampling - Albums secretsMaison de la Photographie, LilleGroup
2012Ten Years in FocusGalerie Stephen Hoffman, MunichGroup
2012Timeless Beauty: 100 years of fashion photography from Man Ray to Mario TestinoC/O Berlin, BerlinGroup
2011Peter LindberghFotomuseum Antwerpen, AntwerpSolo
2011Peter Lindbergh: The UnknownUCCA - Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, BeijingSolo
2011VanityMuseumsquartier, ViennaGroup
2011VANITY - Fashion - Photography from the F.C. Gundlach CollectionMuseumsquartier, ViennaGroup
2011Harper's Bazaar: A Decade of StyleICP - International Center of Photography, New York City, NYGroup
2011Visual Leader 2011Deichtorhallen Hamburg, HamburgGroup
2011Idols and HumansMuseum of Decorative Arts and Design, RigaGroup
2011Yohji´s WomenThe Wapping Project - Bankside, LondonGroup
2011TraummannerDeichtorhallen Hamburg, HamburgGroup
2010Peter Lindbergh - On StreetC/O Berlin, BerlinSolo
2010La vie en face 10Polka Galerie, ParisGroup
2010Charm of Gelatin Silver PrintsII - Noir et BlancGallery Toki No Wasuremono, TokyoGroup
2010Zeitgeist Becomes FormAustralian Centre for Photography, Sydney, NSWGroup
2009IconsGalerie Stephen Hoffman, MunichGroup
2009Isabelle Huppert: Woman of Many FacesUCCA - Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, BeijingGroup
2009Prohibido el cante. Flamenco y fotografiaCentro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo (CAAC), SevillaGroup
2009Zeitgeist Becomes Form: German Fashion Photography 1945 - 1995Yuchengco Museum, Makati CityGroup
2008Peter Lindbergh - FotografieMonchehaus Museum Goslar, GoslarSolo
2008Peter LindberghGalerie Hans Mayer, DusseldorfSolo
2008Fall in Love with The PhotographsGallery Toki No Wasuremono, TokyoGroup
2008Traumfrauen. 50 Starfotografen zeigen ihre Vision von SchonheitDeichtorhallen Hamburg, HamburgGroup
2008FashionCamera Work, BerlinGroup
2008Rencontres d'Arles 2008Rencontres d'Arles, ArlesGroup
2008Zeitgeist Becomes Form: German Fashion Photography 1945–1995Dunedin Public Art Gallery, DunedinGroup
2008Kolekcja TransphotographiquesStary Browar, PoznanGroup
2007Peter Lindbergh– PhotographienCamera Work, BerlinSolo
2007MODE:BILDERNRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, DusseldorfGroup
2007Zeitgeist Becomes FormThe Dowse Art Museum, Lower HuttGroup
2007Le cirque en majesteDaelim Contemporary Art Museum, SeoulGroup
2007Isabelle Huppert: Woman of Many FacesACMI - Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne, VICGroup
2007Transphotographiques 2007Maison de la Photographie, LilleGroup
2007AccrochageGalerie Stephen Hoffman, MunichGroup
2006Peter LindberghGalerie Acte 2, ParisSolo
2006Peter Lindbergh - Visioni - FormaCentro Internazionale di Fotografia, MilanSolo
2006The Heartbeat of FashionSammlung F. C. Gundlach - Deichtorhallen Hamburg, HamburgGroup
2006The Kate ShowFoam Fotografiemuseum, AmsterdamGroup
2006Woman of many facesTokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, TokyoGroup
2006La Danza delle Avanguardie - MARTMuseo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, RoveretoGroup
2006Der Pirelli-Kalender; Provokation und MythosBerlinische Galerie, BerlinGroup
2005Visioni - FormaCentro Internazionale di Fotografia, MilanSolo
2005DaumenkinoKunsthalle Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf Group
2004Really true! Photography and the promise of realityKohlenwasche, Schacht XII, Gebaude A1, EssenGroup
2003Stories Supermodels - Fotografien von Peter LindberghLudwig Galerie, Schloss Oberhausen, OberhausenSolo
2003Transphotographiques 2003Maison de la Photographie, LilleGroup
2003Yohji Yamamoto: May I help you?Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, TokyoGroup
2002Archeology of EleganceDeichtorhallen Hamburg, HamburgGroup
1999Peter Lindbergh - Images of WomenNRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, DusseldorfSolo
1998Peter Lindbergh - Images of WomenKunstHaus Wien, ViennaSolo
1998Peter Lindbergh - Images of womenPalazzo delle Esposizioni, RomeSolo
1997Peter Lindbergh - FotografienHamburger Bahnhof - Museum fur Gegenwart, BerlinSolo
1997Peter LindberghCamera Work, BerlinSolo
1996Peter LindberghTokyo Bunkamura Inc., TokyoSolo