Fashion photographer

Born: November 23, 1944;

Died: September 3, 2019

PETER Lindbergh, who has died aged 74, was a German photographer and filmmaker who worked in fashion photography. His photographs were seen in many of the highest-profile and most commercial outlets available: publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, the New Yorker and The Face; clients including Armani and Calvin Klein; and three times in the Pirelli calendar. Yet his carefully considered and evocative portraiture earned him respect and wall-space from leading museums and galleries around the world.

Possibly his greatest contribution to popular culture was the January 1990 cover of Vogue in which he photographed Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz and Christy Turlington together. Subtitled ‘The 1990s: What Next?’, the cover – together with the quintet’s subsequent appearance in George Michael’s video for his song Freedom 90 – ushered in the era of the ‘Supermodel’, a paradigm shift in the idea of model-as-celebrity, and of the portrayal of glamour for a new decade.

Although discussions on the representation of women have moved on yet further in the last 30 years, the approach which Lindbergh took was unusual at the time and still earns respect today. He described the fashion for retouching photographs and even for using make-up on models as “a culture of madness”, preferring instead – particularly with his black and white photography – to recreate as natural as possible an image of female beauty. His reputation persevered because of this. He was chosen to photograph Anna Wintour’s first edition as editor of American Vogue in 1988, and his most recent cover for the title arrived in British Vogue this summer, with individual portraits of inspirational women chosen by the Duchess of Sussex, including Jane Fonda, Greta Thunberg and New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

He also worked in film and music, shooting the poster for Tony Scott’s David Bowie film The Hunger (1983), and album covers for such stars as Tina Turner, Sheryl Crow and Beyoncé. His work is held in the collections of the V&A in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, while his films include Models, The Film (1991); and Inner Voices (1999), about the Strasberg acting method, which won Best Documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Peter Lindbergh was born Peter Brodbeck in Leszno, occupied Poland, in 1944, and raised in Duisburg. As a young man he hitchhiked in the footsteps of his idol, Vincent Van Gogh, and studied abstract and conceptual art in Berlin and Krefeld, before assisting the photographer Hans Lux in Dusseldorf and joining the staff of Stern magazine. Twice married, HE had four sons and seven grandchildren.

“No-one understands glamour better than Lindbergh, the photographer most closely associated with the rise of the supermodels,”wrote Germaine Greer amid a robust consideration of the Pirelli calendar in 2001. “Even so, he often found ways to project, or at least suggest, both the harsh economic laws that underlie his industry and the ruthlessness of sexual realpolitik.”