The Eye of the Beholder
Posted on 05 April 2016
In 1988 Peter Lindbergh lit a spark. He created a more meaningful connection between the impossibly glamorous subjects of his photographs and the viewer. Suddenly the wind-swept models frolicking in the sand took on a life of their own and thus our fascination with them began. Since then, Lindbergh’s work has been synonymous with some of the most beautiful and talented models and designers in the industry.
Lindbergh started his passion for the arts and fashion early. He began as a window dresser in his teens and took evening classes at the Academy of Arts. He started art school but left, preferring to learn from the world around him. After hitchhiking across Europe and North Africa, Lindbergh focused his attention on photography. He moved to Paris to pursue his dreams where we would soon take the fashion industry by storm. He started working internationally for Vogue and quickly caught the attention of other prestigious magazines such as The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. When Anna Wintour arrived at American Vogue, she wasted no time in signing Lindbergh up to the magazine and he would go on to shoot Wintour’s first, revolutionary American Vogue cover.
Throughout his illustrious career, Lindbergh has played an important role in challenging the traditional roles within fashion. He has always revelled in twisting the archetypal images of women by playing with androgyny and reinventing the established notion of glamour and femininity.
His, now iconic, black and white photographs stir particular feelings in their viewers because of the manner in which he treats his subjects; a palpable tenderness that does not reduce the women to merely clothes hangers. His subjects are first and foremost, women, with all the inner life, joy and mystery that the word implies. His personal touch, his focus on the eyes, their intense gaze fixed firmly on the viewer, and his innate ability to capture their blossoming energy and zest for life uncovers a certain kind of beauty that only exists beyond the surface of the skin.
Lindbergh spoke with Vogue in early 2015 and stated that he is most certainly not finished looking for the beauty of a moment or learning from his surroundings and his subjects. “There’s something else that makes a woman interesting, something beyond being young, or being old, and I’m going to find out what that something is before I die, I hope”.