I occasionally get asked who my favorite photographer is. It’s such a hard question to answer because there are so many extraordinary photographers out there whose work moves me, both past and present. I love the black and white 1930’s glamour photography of Edward Steichen and I basically adore every portrait I’ve ever seen by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz. And there’s a new crop of exceedingly talented photographers within my generation. It’s not uncommon to see at least one new portrait a day by an up-and-coming photographer in my Instagram feed that makes my jaw drop because it’s so spectacular. There is simply so much worthwhile photography to appreciate out there.
But you know what? Despite all of the fantastic talent that exists in the world, for me there is one name that towers above all others: Peter Lindbergh.
A titan within both the photographic community and the world of fashion, Lindbergh sadly passed away earlier this month. Since hearing of his passing, I’ve been thinking a lot about his work and what it is that makes it so damn meaningful. Because I’m not exaggerating when I say that every portrait that I have ever seen by him has moved me…but why? What is it about his work that gets under the skin so?
For me, it’s the authentic power that I see in the eyes of his subjects. We live in a time where women are finding their voices and standing up, demanding to be heard in a way like never before. While the world has always encouraged women to be gentle waves lapping against the sand, what every woman knows deep down is that somewhere within she is in possession of a tsunami.
I see this in the eyes of the women in Peter Lindbergh’s portraits and it speaks to me in a way that is different from everyone else.
If you’d like to learn more about the man, check out the video link below. It’s about 45 minutes long, but well worth the watch: