A few days before the final end of the Peter Lindbergh exhibition in the Kunsthal, my mom and I headed to Rotterdam to learn more about this famous photographer. Even though Peter Lindbergh is today viewed as one of the most influential fashion photographers, to him it is more about the person than about the clothing. Franca Sozzani (editor-in-chief at Vogue Italia) explains this as follows: " [Peter] is not a fashion photographer, but he makes use of fashion to talk with and about women, and that's something completely different." His all black-and-white photographs are pure, minimalistic and timeless and women are portrayed as natural beauties, independent, authentic, and feminine. From the 80s on, he was important in shaping fashion photography into what we know today. He was also of utter importance in the careers of some well-known 'supermodels', like Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista. He worked with many famous couturiers and was decisive for their visual identity.
Peter Lindbergh: "You cannot just ignore everything that happens in the world. It wouldn't be challenging if fashion photography would be exclusively about fashion." His photographs show raw, realistic people and attack contemporary issues in society, like peace protests, gender issues and emancipation of women. He gets his inspiration from film, dance and industrial landscapes. Especially in fashion photography, he breaks the established esthetic rules with his unique vision on photography and society.
When going around the exhibition, we were stunned by his work. Especially his photos of people are incredible and powerful. Seeing those photos in immense size left me speechless. We were in total awe! My mom, who is not particularly interested in photography or art of any kind, got so excited about the expo as well. We did not only get to see many of his famous photographs, but also a lot of his personal notes, behind-the-scene polaroids, pieces of clothing that were worn in his photographs, and old Vogue magazines having one of his famous pictures on its cover. From all this we learned that Peter Lindbergh is a genius photographer, with a great eye for what's of the greatest sort of beauty. He convinced Linda Evangelista chop of her hair. And he was right it would work out mightily for her.
The exhibition consisted out of different sections, from which 'Supermodels', 'Couturiers' and 'Icons' were by far the most impressive ones. Others were 'Zeitgeist' (about protests) and 'Dance', and even though it was some great work as well, it didn't give us the overwhelming feeling that the penetrating eyes of people in the first three sections had. Peter Lindbergh is particularly gifted with a talent to portray people in the purest, most beautiful way.
If you ever get the chance to see a Peter Lindbergh exhibition, DO GO! Even if you're not into art/photography, it is hard to not fall in love with his work.
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