If photographers are responsible for creating or reflecting an image of women in society, then I must say, there is only one way for the future, and this is to define women as strong and independent. This should be the responsibility of photographers today: to free women, and finally everyone, from the terror of youth and perfection.

— Peter Lindbergh

The most tempting Peter Lindbergh quotes to get the best of your day

Photography gives you the opportunity to use your sensibility and everything you are to say something about and be part of the world around you. In this way, you might discover who you are, and with a little luck, you might discover something much larger than yourself.


Isn't art about breaking rules, about challenging existing systems, isn't it about discovering meaning in things or situations before others see anything in them??


My feeling is that for years now it has taken a much too big part in how women are being visually defined today. Heartless retouching should not be the chosen tool to represent women in the beginning of this century.


A photographer is a photographer and an artist is an artist.

I don't believe in labels or titles. Why should a painter or sculptor who has probably never challenged the rules be an artist just because his title and an art school education automatically make him one.


I don't collect art at all. I'm fascinated by art. I receive a lot of presents. My house is full of things, but I am not a collector; it's just that people I work for, and friends, give me a lot of things. There are pictures all over the walls, sculptures, mobiles and paintings. I am embarrassed because I wonder what I should do with them.


I have a very big apartment in Paris but you can't really move around there anymore; piles of books everywhere. I don't want any more books. I have too many books; sometimes I have to buy another copy of a book that I know I have somewhere in my house or office because I can't find it.


In the beginning of my twenties, I started transcendental meditation.

For years, I did nothing else. Every holiday, I went to courses. Meditation is a real simple instrument. You don't need a long beard or a sari. It's meant to bring you to yourself. It's as easy as that.


I started photography more or less by accident when I was already 27.

I was taken on as an assistant by a photographer who was a friend of a friend and I very quickly understood the potential of expression in photography.


I remember how difficult it was to perform certain operations on gelatine prints. A few weeks ago I asked my gelatine printer at Picto, "Can you make just the shadows a little bit brighter?" He gave me a very strange look because in Photoshop you just turn a button, and we're used to that now, but it is totally impossible in gelatine silver printing.


The woman is always more important than the clothes.


I didn't take inspiration from other photographers, which in a way helped to find my own images.


The discussion about whether photography is or isn't art is dated and of no interest. Your work makes you an artist, not your title.


About Peter Lindbergh

Quotes 21 sayings
Profession Photographer
Birthday November 23, 1944

The photographer, even in fashion and portraiture, has to have a standpoint.

It's important to know what you stand for, no? Most people just take pictures but they stand for nothing. They follow trends and don't know why.


In 1990 I did a story with Helena Christensen about a woman who lives in a trailer in the middle of the desert and finds a little crushed UFO with a martian who has survived the crash. She takes him home, and they fall in love. Later he has to meet with his fellow martians who have arrived to rescue him. It's a sad ending. This was my first truly narrative story and apparently the first narrative story in fashion photography.


Now people ask whether photography is art, but I think the question is of absolutely no interest.


I would love to photograph Angelina Jolie.

A friend of mine is working with her on her next film and told me what I was already suspecting, that she is extremely interesting. I have never seen a picture of her that conveys all of her complexity. That would be a fabulous challenge, to find that in a photograph.


Inspired by words you have to create images to tell the story, while it's much more difficult to find your own images with a film for inspiration, because someone has already done it for you.


I believe that the source of your inspiration is very important.

I sometimes see this problem with photographers, even very good ones, who have drawn too much inspiration from photography and who, over time, have a problem forming their own identity.


I bought my first camera to photograph my brother's children.

I learned a lot from that experience. The value of innocence and of not being focused on yourself, and I have to say that these things have remained with me to this day. I can immediately feel when someone is putting on a camera face.


Your inspiration is better if it comes from many different sources and your sensibilities will transform all those influences and inspiration into your own visual world. It's like reading the book instead of watching the movie.