Uma Thurman walked into the Gagosian Shop on New York's Upper East Side on a Friday wearing striking blunt bangs with her long, straight shoulder length hair. She wore a white blouse and navy blazer with a floor length skirt, the kind of skirt only a tall woman can wear well. It was a real New York moment at a book signing for Peter Lindbergh’s new collection of portraits, Images of Women II 2005-2014—the kind of moment you can rarely experience living anywhere else.
At 6 p.m., on March 27, the fashion and celebrity world descended on the bookstore. And an hour later, I was standing behind Thurman after my book was signed as she turned around away from the crowd to compose herself. She appears on the cover of the book, gazing into her own reflection. After that moment, Thurman was all smiles while cameras flashed from the crowd, until she was whisked away.
The book is a beautiful, thick, tome. All the greats are in here: Thurman, Kate Moss, Natalia Vodianova, Lara Stone, Charlotte Rampling, Diane Von Furstenberg, Isabella Rossellini, Tilda Swinton, Mariacarla Boscono, Michelle Williams, and many more.
The pictures were all taken in black and white, and have a gritty, real feeling to them, which is what I, as a photo editor, have long appreciated about Lindbergh. The photographs are portraits of the subjects, rather than those subjects modeling the latest trends in clothing, and I regard them as timeless. I don’t think of any one image as an '80s or '90s picture, but rather: That’s a great picture of that subject at that moment.
Lindbergh doesn’t seem preoccupied with what’s “in” in the fashion world and that’s why his work is always in style. The heat in the bookstore was outrageous, though, as the crowd continued to swell. On my way out through the mob, I saw Karlie Kloss, another tall beauty, Michael Philouze, Ebon Moss-Bachrach (swoon) from Girls with the photographer Yelena Yemchuk, the model Missy Rayder, and on and on. There were so many people coming and going that as soon as I got outside and felt the cool air, I was glad it wasn’t 90 degrees and sunny!
The main reason so many people, including the fashion and celebrity elite, flocked to this event is the work. Lindbergh’s photographs have this rare ability to tell the truth. I think they have soul, and I told him that, but he probably couldn’t hear me that night over the crowd. So see his pictures for yourself in his book. There are not many photographers in the fashion world who manage to make a career with such a clear, honest vision and voice. His work stands out for its beauty, simplicity, and sincerity.
Peter Lindbergh's Images of Women II: 2005-2014 is available now ($95; amazon.com).