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2017 Pirelli Calendar shows beauty doesn't expire

Courtney Tenz with dpa
November 29, 2016

The 2017 Pirelli calendar is breaking new ground as photographer Peter Lindbergh shifts from nearly nude women to showcasing beauty of all ages - including Julianne Moore.

Pirelli Calendar 2017 Julianne Moore (dpa)
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Peter Lindbergh

Known for its bare-all portraits of women, the Pirelli Calendar has grabbed media attention every year since its debut 53 years ago. For the 2017 edition, the calendar makers from the tire-making giant decided to shake things up a bit by photographing women of all ages - with their clothes on.

Leaving a bit more to the imagination, German-born photographer Peter Lindbergh focused his lens on 14 talented women, from actresses Helen Mirren and Charlotte Rampling to Lupita Nyong'o and Zhang Ziyi. It marks an unprecedented diversity for the calendar known for its eroticism and one that Lindbergh defended by saying the current work is in objection to what he calls the "terror of perfection and youth."

"This is another form of nudity, one that is much more important than just naked body parts," he told a press conference at the calendar's launch on Tuesday. Nudity, he said, "strips the actresses' soul," adding that this "will be a calendar about sensitivity, emotions, and by no means about perfect bodies."

In a promotional video on Pirelli's YouTube channel, Lindbergh describes his motivation behind his approach. 

Beauty in the eye of the beholder

Shot in five locations over the course of four weeks, the 2017 Pirelli Calendar includes numerous close-ups while doing without overpowering makeup. The settings play a strong role in the images, with New York's Times Square predominant in several, along with iconic locations in Los Angeles, Berlin, London and the French beach of Le Touquet.

It's the third time that Lindbergh has shot the calendar. The project follows on a decades-long career in fashion and advertising photography that has been focused on imaging strong women. Perhaps best known for his work in the 1990s with supermodels like Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Helena Christensen, Lindbergh has kept his focus away from the male gaze: His models showcase an independence and intelligence that draws viewers in.

His work on the 2017 calendar follows on a shift in the Pirelli universe away from the images of barely-clad women rolling in sand that often hung in auto mechanics' shops that began last year with striking images by Annie Leibovitz.

Click through the gallery below for a closer look at Peter Lindbergh's approach to photography, as shown in a recent exhibition in Rotterdam.