"MY GENUINE AND SPECIAL WOMEN, NEVER PERFECT"

by Bettina Bush, October 2017 (Italy)


Divine to the human eye. These are the women of Peter Lindbergh, definitely the poet of glamour, the artist who has succeeded in transforming "femmes fatales" into genuine women and not merely images of misleading perfection: "When I'm asked if I follow a method when taking pictures," explains Peter Lindbergh, "I reply that I don't have a method. Everything is simply genuine and real." But not everything was simple at the start of Lindbergh's career. We met him in the Venaria Palace (Turin), while he was finishing the installation of the exhibition entitled “A Different Vision on Fashion Photography”, which is inaugurated today (until 4 February 2018), produced by the Kunsthal Rotterdam, under the curatorship of Thierry-Maxime Loriot, supported by Swarovski. The artist amusedly remembers when, at the end of the 1980s, Grace Mirabella, the director of Vogue America, had rejected his photo shoot because it was too innovative: "I was not at ease with the stereotypes of this type of artificial and superficial woman," continues Lindbergh, "my ideal woman related to my years at art school, when I had known independent women who had aspirations and goals. When Anna Wintour became the new director of Vogue America, she saw my photos that had been rejected and said: this is what woman will be." More than two hundred photos, videos and films tell the story of contemporary woman, and also the world of fashion designers, the great myths of the dance world, the influence of cinema, the magic of the darkroom, the power of icons, without following a chronological order, but describing the world from a less conventional perspective. Special women who do not hesitate to pose nude, without makeup, and without artifice in front of the lens, like the five supermodels who open the exhibition, at the time not yet very well known: Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Tatjana Patiz; or the no-longer-young Charlotte Rampling, Gena Rowlands, Jeanne Moreau and Tina Turner, all splendid and natural. Also fashion designers, Armani, Gaultier, Prada, Donna Karan, Azzedine Alaia, to mention just a few, great dancers such as Pina Bausch, and an incredible Madonna. >"My ideal woman related to my years at art school, when I had known independent women who had aspirations and goals." Lindbergh was not afraid to be daring, not even when he convinced Linda Evangelista to cut off her long hair: "She didn't want to, she said that she would have worked far less, but in the end she listened to me, and indeed for a little while she worked less, but then she became very famous." He still makes courageous choices even today, and takes pictures without artifice and without effects, not even in the digital era: "I don't use Photoshop except to make the effect more real, typical of a film," adds Lindbergh, "for me talent is when I see something genuine, I feel that it is special, it may be a detail, or a person. When I take photos then a magic space is created between me and the subject, which changes continually. I fix it, but it will never be the same, like people, who are complex beings." One specific section of the exhibition is entitled "Unknown", recounting the fascination of the unknown, and here Lindbergh has plunged into science fiction, designing the profile of a Martian. This is reminiscent of E.T., and his work could be compared to that of a film director, who studies, writes and prepares every shot: "We wanted to describe the universe of this incredible photographer starting from fashion," explains the curator Loriot, "and going inside his vision, backstage, showing his notes and his archives. He has photographed many models and has made them famous not for their names, but for their stories."