The 2017 Pirelli Calendar is a major “statement” against our Photoshop-obsessed culture and a “cry against the terror of perfection”.
Hollywood actresses Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o, Charlotte Rampling, Rooney Mara, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Lea Seydoux, Robin Wright and Zhang Ziyi star in a series of honest black and white portraits shot by photographer Peter Lindbergh.
Following on from Annie Leibovitz’s 2016 calendar, which ditched nude supermodels in favour of “strong but natural” women who have “achieved something”, the new edition also does away with face and body retouching.
“The goal of the calendar is to show the real woman,” Lindbergh told The Huffington Post UK. “Not to show the stretched and manipulated, emptied women you see in the magazines today.”
Lindbergh called the 2017 calendar a “statement” due to the lack of retouching, and revealed he deliberately chose to shoot actresses who had starred in high fashion and beauty advertisements.
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“You know these women retouched,” he told HuffPost UK. “It’s more powerful when you see these women how they normally are.”
Like Leibovitz, he also forwent the Pirelli tradition of nude portraits, focusing instead on “stripping down to the very soul” of his subjects.
“It’s another kind of naked,” he said. “More important than body parts.”
The only body parts highlighted in the calendar are Kate Winslet’s hands, which star in a full-page, close-up shot as a protest against society’s pressure on women to look younger.
“I asked Peter specifically to photograph the backs of my hands because aged 40 I can see how different they are from when I was 30 and when I was 20 and I love looking at that,” Winslet said.
“I don’t want people to change how I look. People are constantly trying to make us look a softer version of 40 or a more youthful, fresher version of 50. Isn’t it ok to just be 40, or 50, or 60?.”
Speaking at the Pirelli Calendar press conference in Paris on Tuesday 29 November, Uma Thurman praised Lindbergh’s mission to “free women from oppressive and false standards”.
Thurman said the photos send an important message to the younger generation, and that she wanted her children to “see their mother ageing and being herself”.
Lindbergh, who has shot the Pirelli calendar three times, said he believes retouching removes the “experience” from women’s faces and creates an unattainable standard of beauty.
The purpose of his 2017 calendar, titled ‘Emotional’, is to rebel against the current climate and to “remind people of what beauty really is”.
For Lindbergh, the actresses’ true beauty lies in their “individuality”, their “courage to be themselves”, and their “beautiful minds”.