Channeling My Inner Peter Lindbergh

Lela Rae, December 13, 2007.

A couple of months ago I did not know who Peter Lindbergh is, but I did know some of his famous images, like his famous photo of five super models (see below). I just didn’t know that Lindbergh was the photographer.

And then I found a YouTube video featuring Peter Lindbergh and his work and I put two and two together, connecting his name with his images. To my surprise, in the video Lindbergh said he does not prefer happy looks. He likes the models to look sad or melancholy. So I Googled his name and went looking for examples.

Natalia Vodianova by Peter Lindbergh. Published in Vogue, March 27, 2015.

I found this image of Natalia Vodianova. This is the kind of image Lindbergh liked to create. This is an exquisitely stunning photograph.

When I saw this image, in my mind I jumped back to a photo shoot several years ago with Lela Rae. After we created some images as an homage to the late Edward Weston (we both love Weston’s work), she asked if we could do some images that convey sadness. That is not what I typically do, but I was willing to give it a go. The image at the top of this article is one my favorites. Sometimes really good things happen when we step outside our comfort zone.

Without even knowing who he was at the time, I was channeling the kind of images Lindbergh loved to create.

For all of us ordinary photographers, if we are going to look at images as a source for inspiration, we should go to the best of the best. It won’t make a Peter Lindbergh out of us, but it will help us be better photographers.

You can see more of Lindbergh’s work at the links below, or just Google “Peter Lindbergh images”.

Five Supermodels by Peter Lindbergh


A Look Back at Peter Lindbergh’s Most Iconic Photographs – a slide show of 22 images at Harper’s Bazaar

Peter Lindbergh – 10 images at Lens Culture

Exclusive! Peter Lindbergh on his Women, His New Book, and What makes a Photograph Iconic – at Vogue with 8 images

Peter Lindbergh Foundation

Peter Lindbergh, Stories – a collection of iconic photo stories