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Shadows on the wall

Uma Thurman, New York, 2016
Photo: ©Peter Lindbergh (courtesy Peter Lindbergh, Paris)

Peter Lindbergh’s photographs focus on charisma and individuality. Instead of propagating unattainable, flawless ideals of beauty, his portraits highlight the personality and expressiveness of each model. In September 2019, the star photographer passed away in Paris. To show our admiration for and appreciation of his work, we are displaying some of our favourite Lindbergh photographs. The works in Shadows on the Wall showcase Peter Lindbergh’s understanding of real beauty: simple and approachable, with pores, wrinkles, freckles and all.

Peter Lindbergh revolutionised fashion photography with a definition of beauty quite unique in the fashion world and with his own, almost anti-fashion style. “Beauty is a fragile idea and too closely linked to each unique individual. This idea will die from generalisation and also manipulation, and it is by nature intimate,” explained the star photographer. His photographs show, therefore, both the subject’s outer and inner beauty – fully in line with the philosophy of our co-founder Elisabeth Sigmund. And this is exactly how we continue to understand beauty today.

Penélope Cruz, New York, 2016
Photo: ©Peter Lindbergh (courtesy Peter Lindbergh, Paris)
Kate Winslet, Le Touquet, 2015
Photo: ©Peter Lindbergh (courtesy Peter Lindbergh, Paris)
Julianne Moore, New York, 2016
Photo: ©Peter Lindbergh (courtesy Peter Lindbergh, Paris)
Helen Mirren, London, 2016
Photo: ©Peter Lindbergh (courtesy Peter Lindbergh, Paris)
"My definition of beauty is very simple: Beauty is having the courage to be yourself." Peter Lindbergh, London, 2016.
Photo: ©Stefan Rappo
Cover – Peter Lindbergh, Shadows on the Wall In seinem letzten Bildband „Shadows on the Wall“, erschienen im TASCHEN Verlag, nahm Peter Lindbergh 14 Hollywood-Schauspielerinnen vor die Linse, mit denen ihn jahrelange, enge und persönliche Beziehungen verbanden.

True to his definition, Peter Lindbergh’s book of photography Shadows on the Wall does not present a squad of supposedly “flawless” supermodels. He chose to place 14 Hollywood actresses in front of the lens, with whom he had enjoyed close and personal relationships for many years. These include Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Penélope Cruz and Uma Thurman.

In the preface to his book, he calls on all photographers to use their creativity and influence to “free women, and indeed everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection.” Lindbergh himself translates this “duty” into expressive portraits that are underpinned by the personality and experiences of the subjects. The photographs reveal all the small imperfections, the traces of life that tell their own story. This is precisely what makes for unique beauty.

Lindbergh’s message is simple: These intimate images defend a beauty that speaks of individuality, of one’s own sensibility. But, above all, the courage to be oneself.