BY KLAUS HONNEF
The idea for “A Selection by Klaus Honnef” first came to me when I was approached by Hans-Joachim Müller, editor of the art lexicon Künstler, who asked me to select the illustrations that would accompany my article on Peter Lindbergh. I asked Peter for a compilation of photographs from his archive, and he provided me with several hundred photos to choose from. In close collaboration with Peter and my wife Gabi, I selected the illustrations for my article in Künstler during the course of a two-day stay in Paris.
>"I have never considered [Peter Lindberhg] a fashion photographer. He is to a greater degree an extraordinarily sensitive photo-artist with a way of viewing the world that is both candid and contagious". - Klaus Honnef
For Peter it was both interesting and thrilling to have his work viewed from a totally different perspective, and he struck upon the idea of dedicating a special room of his magnificent exhibition at C/O Berlin—and a special section in this book—to my selection. With the lexicon concept still in mind, I decided to provide a representative and aesthetically accentuated impression of a photographic œuvre whose creator is quite rightly considered the most influential photographer of his day. Furthermore, I strove to combine those photographs which had long since achieved the status of icons with other lesser-known or unpublished photos, which nevertheless display Lindbergh’s aesthetic vision and distinctive pictorial language as succinctly and plausibly as the icons.
The cache of images, which draws from the history of art, photography, and the cinema, provided the formalistic-aesthetic criteria. The thematic-aesthetic criteria prompted me to ask how deeply and how abidingly Lindbergh’s images have changed our way of viewing the world around us. The selection process took on the character of an exciting ping-pong match. Most of Peter Lindbergh’s photographs are fashion-related, but I have never considered him a fashion photographer. He is to a greater degree an extraordinarily sensitive photo-artist with a way of viewing the world that is both candid and contagious. No, it is not just his images per se, but above all the people whom he photographs whose presence and charisma transcend the bounds of conventional photographic aesthetics and set new standards in the art of photography.
The selection was made from digitally-created prints of immaculate quality. In some cases we had to fall back on darkroom prints or screen shots. The resulting selection displays a world of images that seems to allude to the reality of daily life in but a subliminal way, yet its hidden conflicts and contradictions are exposed time and again by the artistic eye of Peter Lindbergh.