Peter Lindbergh Addresses the Pressure to Photoshop His A-List Subjects in New Interview

Peter Lindbergh Addresses the Pressure to Photoshop His A-List Subjects in New Interview

World-renowned photographer Peter Lindbergh has given a candid interview on his thoughts about the use of airbrushing, ahead of the release of his new book.

Speaking with The Times, the Paris-based 72-year-old photographer chatted openly about the controversy of photoshopping women’s facial features, and his preference to avoid doing so.

This year, Lindbergh shot 14 of Hollywood’s most recognizable women for the Pirelli calendar, the mega-budget publishing event that has seen the likes of Tim Walker and Annie Leibovitz contribute in neighboring years. The aim of the shoot was to free women from the ties of airbrushing by capturing them naturally, and that’s something he believes is still relevant now, many months on. So much so, he’s just published hundreds of unseen images, re-iterating his naturalistic style by including pores, fine lines, freckles and under-eye shadows in the final images.

PSPF 2017, DAY TWO Peter initially answered “definitely not” on arrival day, to the demand of some of the class to look at each of their portfolios. “But I changed my mind and gave in,” he explained, “when I understood that this was necessary to link all of us close together and to get as close as possible to everyone in the room.” We all learned a lot from this day. Everyone presented his work, discussed by the whole class and It was unbelievable real and personal when peter analyzed each of the participants with much empathy in a very deep and profound way, with everyone else being there, listening without a noise. On this second day, one question was often asked to Peter: “CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT I HAVE TO DO TO CONNECT MY PHOTOGRAPHY TO REALITY?” “I answered this question with an example, about what we did for the 2017 Pirelli Calendar,” said Peter. “I wanted to use the overwhelming media presence of the Calendar and connect it to a concept close to my heart, one that was very much based on reality. I’m very grateful that Mr. Tronchetti, chairman of Pirelli, agreed on this concept, as is it somehow political.” “IN A TIME WHEN WOMEN ARE REPRESENTED IN THE MEDIA AND EVERYWHERE ELSE AS AMBASSADORS OF PERFECTION AND YOUTH, I THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO REMIND EVERYONE THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENT BEAUTY, MORE REAL, TRUTHFUL AND FAR FROM ONE MANIPULATED BY COMMERCIAL OR ANY OTHER INTERESTS. A BEAUTY WHICH SPEAKS ABOUT INDIVIDUALITY, COURAGE TO BE YOURSELF AND YOUR VERY OWN SENSIBILITY.” #PSphotofestival #PSPF2017 #LindberghStories @2bmanagement @gagosiangallery @psphotofestival @pirelli

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Addressing the journalist’s questions of whether his preference for stripped-back looks scares some of his potential subjects out of sitting for him, he replies: “No! Then they wouldn’t even come. It’s really funny, because sometimes [my subjects will] whisper to me, while we’re shooting, ‘Can you do a little retouching?’ I don’t say no. I say, ‘Ah, we’ll see, we’ll see.’”

Lindbergh recently shot a Vanity Fair cover with British actress Meghan Markle, who expressed her delight at Lindbergh’s decision to include her freckles in the images from their shoot.

Pledging his allegiance to photographs that are “real,” he says, “It’s not that I care about being truthful. It’s the only thing I’m interested in.”

See images from the book at The Times.

[via The Times]

Lead image credit: Tranmautritam

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3 Comments

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Really interesting!

Jack Alexander's picture

I think so! One of my subtle favourites

William Howell's picture

I think retouching is perfectly fine for an older person. But, I don’t see why a young person would need skin softening, maybe blemish removal.