We are living in a time dominated with products that strip a woman of her natural essence and replace it with a glossier, refurbished, and conformed version that only perpetuates the cycle of self-hate and competition that takes away from women’s potential. These products range from cosmetics to social media filters and photoshop. The idea of a natural women seems foreign amidst the seas of engineered and degrading beauty standards.
Beginning in 1963 Pirelli has released an annual calendar that features risqué women in the nude. The erotic photos mimic society’s obsession for glamor and specific looks, until last year. The 2016 marked a major change for the calendar’s historic theme. Focus transitioned from sex-ed up models and elite female celebrities to fully dressed influential women. For 2017, Pirelli will be featuring actresses with minimal makeup and they claim the images have “no re-touching or photoshop” in hopes of highlighting the natural beauty and the differences that make women unique and beautiful.
The 2017 calendar “conveys personality, sensitivity and the guts to be yourself,” says the 2017 calendar’s photographer, Peter Lindbergh. While shooting, Lindbergh’s aim was “not shoot a calendar about perfect bodies but to capture sensitivity and emotion, laying bare the souls of the women in the images, rendering them more naked that a nude.” The 2017 edition of the calendar gives Lindbergh the title of the calendar’s most recurrent photographer having shot three calendars for the brand.
As of late there has been an extreme push for embracing natural beauty over photoshopped photos that represent standards for women that are completely unattainable, from Alicia Key’s #nomakeup movement to Zendaya’s words about photoshop and body positivity. Pirelli will be doing just that with the 2017 calendar publication.
In a time when women are represented in the media and everywhere else as ambassadors of perfection and youth, 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
This 44th edition of the Pirelli calendar includes forty images of actors Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Charlotte Rampling, Lea Seydoux, Uma Thurman, Alicia Vikander, Kate Winslet, Robin Wright, and Zhang Ziyi. Also included was special guest Anastasia Ignatova, who is not a celebrity, but rather a political theory professor at Moscow State University. All these remarkable women were honored by being in this prominent calendar for embracing a re-defininition of our culture’s socially constructed idea of beauty.
It’s dangerous, we are used to such spectacular images – amazing locations, incredible lighting, airbrushing – and we’re going away from that. It’s dangerous because our eyes need to become re-educated. We’re used to digital-enhanced images, let’s go back to the simple truth of humanity