The 2017 Pirelli Calendar is continuing last year’s tradition of celebrating women beyond glitz and glamour with pared down images by German photographer Peter Lindbergh. The legendary photographer is the first to helm the project three times and titled the series of black and white shots Emotional. Shot in five different cities, Lindbergh asked 14 famed actresses to participate in his vision—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.
“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…” Lindbergh shares. Through his images, he shows us that the meaning of beauty is far beyond what we see in mass media, where youth and perfection is prized. And in reality, what Lindbergh shows us is that perfection is not about an ideal body, but about the raw, stripped down emotional core within.
The calendar isn’t limited to studio shoots, but also open-air moments with the women in London, New York, Berlin, Los Angeles, and on a beach in France. Lindbergh purposely chose actresses that have had an important role in his life, feeling that this would allow him to capture them closely. Nicole Kidman was the first to shoot, and Lindbergh could immediately feel his concept was working.
“I think it’s amazing to look at someone like Nicole Kidman in a totally different way. It’s a sensational experience to look at someone who’s looking at you through the camera, and to form a direct bond with them—it was a unique experience, unlike anything I’d had before,” he recalls. “When, after an hour or two of shooting, Nicole turned to me and said: ‘I don’t know why I’m having so much fun… no one has ever photographed me like this… no one has ever seen this part of me and it’s really beautiful’, she captured the essence of what I was trying to do with the 2017 Pirelli Calendar. I wanted to portray women not in terms of their perfection, but through their feelings and emotions. That’s why I called this edition of the Calendar Emotional: not some artificial perfection, but the real world and the emotions that well up behind the faces of these women.”
Pirelli has launched a website with exclusive content, including interviews and behind-the-scenes videos for more insight into the 2017 calendar. And while the exclusive calendar is not available to the public, a 50th anniversary publication collects all the images from Pirelli calendars up to 2015.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Pirelli.