For those of you who might’ve missed it, there’s a new docu-series about ‘90s supermodels, aptly titled The Super Models, directed and produced by two-time Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple. It will air on AppleTV+ on September 20, and it will revolve around the stories of four era-defining glamazons: Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington. We couldn’t understand that phenomenon without Peter Lindbergh, the German photographer who ignited this cultural movement that re-shaped fashion and beauty forever. To pay homage to him, Fotografiska Stockholm is hosting the exhibition, Peter Lindbergh. Lightness of Being, which presents over a hundred photographs taken by the influential creator.
Made in close collaboration with The Peter Lindbergh Foundation, led by the photographer’s son, Benjamin Lindbergh, the exhibition is the first of its kind in Sweden. “We hope this installation shining a new light on his legacy will pay tribute to his trailblazing vision on fashion photography, as well as resonate among younger generations,” Benjamin said. “I believe the Lindbergh way of portraying women truthfully –without artifice or superficial filter– is still much relevant in regard to how beauty might be defined today,” he concluded.

His “way of portraying women truthfully,” as his son says, was ahead of his time. In the mid-1980s, the photographer told Alexander Liberman, the legendary editorial director of Condé Nast, that he disliked the women featured in Vogue, who were usually over-produced. Liberman then suggested that he portrayed the kind of women that he was interested in. That's when Lindbergh took to Santa Monica Beach with Linda Evangelista, Karen Alexander, Christy Turlington, Estelle Lefébure, Tatjana Patitz, and Rachel Williams, all wearing oversized plain white shirts. Capturing candid moments of joy and laughter among a group of then-anonymous young models, Peter Lindbergh made history. Well, sort of. Because both Alexander Liberman and Grace Mirabella, Vogue USA’s Editor-in-Chief at the time, turned the images down.

However, a few months later, Anna Wintour replaced Mirabella at the helm of the so-called fashion bible. After finding out about Peter’s photo shoot at the beach, she commissioned him to shoot her first Vogue cover – the infamous November 1988 issue where model Michaela Bercu wears a Christian Lacroix jumper with appliqués and a pair of jeans. And now, finally, history was made – although it was British Vogue’s January 1990 issue featuring Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista that really cemented the foundation of the supermodels.

Being the accidental instigator of this phenomenon is just one of the many accomplishments that Peter Lindbergh achieved during his long, successful career. As the genius he was, Lindbergh was the artist of another time (a time before the digital era took over the magic of film photography), one that looked for raw and natural honesty in his work. The major exhibition at Fotografiska, on view until October 15, is just another reminder of his incredible talent, and a unique opportunity to explore the photographer’s vast body of work.
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Amber Valletta, New York, 1993. © Peter Lindbergh.
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Angela Lindvall & Chris Dye, Warner Bros Studios, Burbank, California, 2004. © Peter Lindbergh. Courtesy Peter Lindbergh Foundation, Paris.
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Estelle Lefébure, Karen Alexander, Rachel Williams, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz & Christy Turlington, Santa Monica, California, 1988. © Peter Lindbergh. Courtesy Peter Lindbergh Foundation, Paris.
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Kate Moss, New York, 1994. © Peter Lindbergh. Courtesy Peter Lindbergh Foundation, Paris.
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Ulli Stein Meier, Lynne Koester, Cindy Crawford & Linda Evangelista, Paris, 1989. © Peter Lindbergh. Courtesy Peter Lindbergh Foundation, Paris.