For this year’s Pirelli Calendar, the iconic brand decided to take a different approach. Instead of showing models in seductive poses, with perfect hair, makeup and legs, photographer Peter Lindbergh shot some of Hollywood’s leading ladies, natural and completely un-retouched. Featuring everyone from Uma Thurman to Helen Mirren, as well as newcomers like Rooney Mara and Lea Seydoux, the 2017 calendar is all about showcasing the beauty in imperfection.
“My aim was to portray women in a different way,” Lindbergh said. “And I did it by calling in actresses who have played an important role in my life, getting as close as possible to them to take my photos.”
The black-and-white imagery is a refreshing push-back to the oppressive beauty standards and aging stigma rampant in Hollywood today.
“As an artist, I feel I’m responsible for freeing women from the idea of eternal youth and perfection,” Lindbergh explained. “The ideal of perfect beauty promoted by society is something that simply can’t be attained.”
With minimal makeup, styling and wardrobe, this year’s calendar provides a stark contrast to the high glamour of past editions. But the rawer, more honest quality of Lindbergh’s images makes the 2017 calendar Pirelli’s best, and most powerful to date.
“We are used to such spectacular images—amazing locations, incredible lighting, airbrushing, and we’re going away from that,” Helen Mirren said. “It’s dangerous because our eyes need to become re-educated. […] Let’s go back to the simple truth of humanity.”
The inherent courage and confidence it takes to strip down in front of a camera and show your truest self to a world hellbent on dissecting every part of your body, makes the women in these portraits seem all the more human, and extraordinary.
“In a time when women are represented in the media and everywhere else as ambassadors of perfection and youth,” Lindbergh said. “I thought it was important to remind everyone that there is a different beauty, more real and truthful and not manipulated by commercial or any other interests—a beauty which speaks about individuality, courage to be yourself and your own private sensibility.”
Check out some of the photos, above.