The No-Photoshop Pledge

The battle against Photoshop started a couple of years ago when doyens of photography decided to return to natural-looking models and (just!) slightly retouched photos. As long as you don’t prefer looking like a surgery gone bad, you must support the efforts to represent women as beautiful as they are. Do you remember the “art item” of 2016? It was a Pirelli calendar released by the Italian tire company. Usually filled with photographs of nude, barely clothed models, in 2016 the company opted for 12 studio portraits of women renowned for their amazing work in different fields: comedy, sports, philanthropy and art. The photographer of the hour was Annie Leibovitz who was, at the time, the first and only woman to have photographed the calendar in over 25 years.

Featured women were Serena Williams, Patti Smith, Amy Schumer, Yao Chen, Mellody Hobson, Yoko Ono, Agnes Gund, Fran Lebowitz, Shirin Neshat, Ava DuVernay, Kathleen Kennedy, Natalia Vodianova and Tavi Gevinson.

Schumer, who was photographed only in her underwear, posed in lingerie and heels, holding a cup of coffee with a lipstick stain. During a press conference, Leibovitz said that “the idea was that she was the only one who had not got the memo about wearing clothes.” The calendar was highly praised by both the industry and the ‘everyday’ humans. This was a breaking point for the ‘No-Photoshop’ pledge around the world.

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(Amy Schumer, Photo Credit: NY Times)

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(Yoko Ono, Photo Credit: NY Times)

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(Patti Smith, Photo Credit: NY Times)

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(Serena Williams, Photo Credit: NY Times)

A couple of days ago, Pirelli decided to shock us once again. Having in mind the success of the last years’ calendar, it is now wonder that the star of this year is a celebrated photographer Peter Lindbergh, known for the most remembered Vogue editorials and for his personal belief that ‘a smile is the best makeup any girl can wear’. The 44th edition of Pirelli’s legendary creation is further testament to Lindbergh’s love of the big screen, which he celebrates with his star-studded 2017 Pirelli Calendar cast: 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. The line-up also features Anastasia Ignatova, a Political Theory professor at Moscow State University, as special guest. In shots from the behind-the-scenes video, traditionally used to reveal the hidden workings of the Pirelli Calendar, the actresses themselves explain what it felt like to be behind Lindbergh’s lens. Uma Thurman, for example, said if felt ‘like an interview, but with a camera’ while for Penelope Cruz it was ‘almost like seeing into your soul.’

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(Julianne Moore, Photo Credit: People Magazine)

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(Nicole Kidman, Photo Credit: People Magazine)

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(Robin Wright, Photo Credit: People Magazine)

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(Uma Thurman, Photo Credit: People Magazine)

‘I wanted to show women in a different way: I did this by asking actresses who have always played an important role in my life and to try and get as close to them as possible through my photos.  As an artist, I feel I have a responsibility to free women from the idea of eternal youth and perfection. Society’s ideal of perfection is impossible to achieve‘, Lindbergh explained.

For the 2017 edition, the shots were taken between May and June in five locations: Berlin, Los Angeles, New York, London and the French beach of Le Touquet. This produced a calendar featuring forty images, both portrait and ambient shots, taken in the studio or outside on location around the city, from the street scenes, fast food joints and run-down hotels of downtown Los Angeles to Time Square in New York, the Sophiensaele theatre in Berlin, the roofs of New York and London studios, and on the beach in Le Touquet, France.

Cover Photo: Rooney Mara and Peter Lindbergh, behind the scenes of Pirelli 2017 calendar, Photo Credit: Twitter)