Here is an interview between Peter Lindbergh and the star of our favourite fashion story of his, Helena Christensen.
Helena Christensen: Most of your fashion shoots tell little magical stories. Do you ever dream these stories?
Peter Lindbergh: Nothing comes from dreaming. My dreams, if I ever remember them, are so complex, that I wouldn’t try to turn them into a story for a fashion magazine. There are too many rules you have to follow. Just the fact, that every new picture needs a different outfit, will make a lot of ideas impossible. I think you can use your Dreams to create images, when you don’t have the limitations of Fashion photography, and you work for yourself or your gallery.
HC: My favorite story that I ever did was the one we did together for Italian Vogue with the little alien. Where did this particular idea for the story come from?
PL: The idea to shoot this story was born in my dentists waiting room in Paris. Someone left a small pile of tacked together Xeroxes on the table, with images and notes from UFO watchers all over the world. One of them was Mr. Kienzle, close by the El Mirage Dry Lake. I was fascinated by these images, mostly just reflections on the Sky, I guess and decided to do a Martian Story. That was exactly when you passed by my studio for the first time to show your pictures. I was stunned…..by you!! The perfect new face for the story just walked into my studio! The only thing left was to Write a Story, with a beginning and an end, and fly to L.A to shoot it.
HC: You have a way of photographing women that make them seem like strong, fierce and independent women. Is this important for you to convey about women to the viewer?
PL: To define and to propose a very personal view on Women, has always been very important for me. I think that this is the most important and exciting part of fashion photography. When you look back, every Decade has defined a certain type of women, basically through the work of one or two photographers not to mention the work of designers, editors, hair and make up etc. During each decade, there is a lot of experimenting going on, by many photographers. To come back to your question, only these photographers who had the sensibility “to put the pieces together”, to define the women who represents a certain decade, are the ones we still know.
HC: What kind of light do you prefer working in?
PL: Every light has its own beauty….
HC: Mention 3 contemporary artists you would like to exchange your art with for theirs..
PL: Michael Heizer, Gerhard Richter, Joseph Kosuth.
HC: What has been your favorite location over time to photograph in and why?
PL: My favorite locations to work, you should know, are the deserts and dry lakes, large and unromantic beaches, movie studios backlots, and down town Los Angeles. I like any place which adds something interesting to a Story I have on my mind…
HC: Why do you think photography is such an interesting art-form?
PL: I wouldn’t say that photography is an especially interesting Art form. It is just one out of many, and by accident the one I fell into and stuck with, because I can express myself perfectly with these little black machines…
HC: What is the most amazing visual or moment you have ever seen that you didn’t photograph?
PL: When I was twenty, My mother looked into my eyes for quite a moment, she was dying…
Interview curated by Christopher Michael @ One Management.
Photo of Helena Christensen by Peter Lindbergh, 1996.
Photo of Peter Lindbergh by Donata Wenders, Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, 2002.