Photographs by the late Peter Lindbergh offer a glimpse into his vision

Shortly before his untimely death, Lindbergh curated his first ever exhibition. On show now at the Düsseldorf Kunstpalast, an accompanying book gives further insight into his creativity

Peter Lindbergh was behind the lens of some of the most iconic fashion images of all time. With his work gracing the pages of all the top fashion magazines, he made the careers of the 90s supermodel elite, took arresting black and white portraits of the stars, and changed what fashion photography could be. 

The German photographer died in September 2019, but he had spent the two years before his death working on a collection of 140 photographs that captured the spirit of his personal style. Spanning from the early 1980s to the present day, the collection has just gone on display at the Düsseldorf Kunstpalast gallery in Germany and offers a look at images that graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Rolling Stone, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, and more.   

Lynne Koester, Paris, 1984

Titled Untold Stories, a book of the same name (released 20 February) accompanies the show and is a 320-page insight into the photographer. The book is published by Taschen, and contains images that were previously unpublished or only existed temporarily in the pages of these glossy magazines. A mix of models, actors and personalities appear in the collection, including Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista.

The XL volume also contains a conversation between Lindbergh and Kunstpalast director Felix Krämer, as well as an homage by director, photographer and close friend Wim Wenders, which offers personal insights into the collection and Lindbergh himself. 

Uma Thurman, New York, 2016
Sasha Pivovarova, Steffy Argelich, Kirsten Owen & Guinevere van Seenus, Brooklyn, 2015

“The idea of me curating the exhibition myself opened up the possibility of thinking about my photos in a more comprehensive way, in a context other than fashion,” Lindbergh said in the interview with Kramer. “The aim of this exhibition is to open up my photos to different interpretations and perspectives. Mind you, I am not trying to say that my pictures are not about fashion photography, as that would be incorrect. I insist on the definition ‘fashion photography’ since, for me, this term does not mean that you have to depict fashion – photography is much bigger than fashion itself, it is a component of contemporary culture, like music.”

Lindbergh’s images changed what fashion photography could be. With the focus on more than just the fashion within the photographs, Lindbergh also put an emphasis on narrative and rawness, creating candid images that feel just as contemporary now as they did when they were first taken. 

Peter Lindbergh, Untold Stories published by Taschen

Peter Lindbergh: Untold Stories is on show at the Düsseldorf Kunstpalast until June 1. The book of the same now is published by Taschen on February 20;;