The annual Pirelli fashion-art calendar continues to move away from its glam-sex roots for 2017, with a timely series of B&W portraits that showcase the natural beauty of the world’s top actresses.
German photographer Peter Lindbergh said yesterday the revealing images — collectively titled ‘Emotional’ — are “a cry against the terrorism of perfection and youth” and an effort to show his subjects as “more naked than nude.”
He makes his point with unretouched shots of Rooney Mara, Lupita Nyong’o, Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore (above), Nicole Kidman, Charlotte Rampling and others, sans makeup.
Lindbergh’s objective, he says, is not to show “perfect bodies but to capture sensitivity and emotion, laying bare the souls of the women.”
But is there anything new about this approach? Isn’t this what photographers — and actors — strive for every day?
In a year in which “realism” has moved from being just an aesthetic to a socio-political comment in fashion and culture, this version of The Cal seems more on-trend than groundbreaking. It piggybacks on the #NoMakeup movement that has swept social media this year, and anyone who has followed #NoMakeup trailblazer Alicia Keys’ extraordinary physical and spiritual transformation since going bare-faced will appreciate the undeniable power of Lindbergh’s image. It also seems to take its cues from last year’s Annie Leibowitz-lensed calendar that focused on women change-makers and marked Pirelli’s departure from the stylized, sexualized calendars of the past and, perhaps, its aspiration for cultural relevance.
But new or not, the 44th edition of The Cal is beautiful, profound and makes a vital contribution to the ongoing dialogue about contemporary beauty standards.
And, interestingly, it’s not just about famous people, either. The model cast includes Russian history professor Anastasia Ignatova — a somewhat random choice whose inclusion in a lineup of global A-list celebrities is unexplained. She’s more than welcome, though, and her participation presents an intriguing idea: what if, next year, Pirelli tossed out its playbook and shot an entirely street-cast calendar featuring only “real” (i.e. non-famous) women? It is to dream.
BTW, there’s a huge amount of accompanying material about this edition of The Cal as well as its 50-year history as a global traffic-stopper and conversation-starter on Pirelli’s swanky new website: pirellicalendar.pirelli.com.