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Oliviero Toscani Nude Calendar Creates Storm In Italy

First Posted: 01/14/11 01:37 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:25 PM ET

Best known for his provocative series of Benetton ad campaigns, Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani has never been one to shy away from controversy. But a new publicity calendar has some outraged feminists saying the 69-year-old lensman has finally gone too far.

According to the AFP, the "genital triangle" collection is made up entirely of close-up snaps of nude women's groins, each with a natural mass of blond, brunette or red hair. (You can view a NSFW snapshot from the calendar here)

The calendar was produced in association with Tuscan leather workers, who reportedly say they chose Toscani's photos as symbols of untamed feminine beauty. However, the shots have whipped up a storm among Italian feminists, and and a ban could be on the way after a formal complaint by Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna. "We are outraged at this umpteenth example of women's bodies being used for publicity," said Roberta Gavagna from the Artemisia association against domestic abuse."Is Toscani suggesting the essence of women lies in their genitals?"

As with previous controversies, Toscani has thus far shrugged off the criticism. "There are lots of calendars with sexy women with their thighs exposed, not at all like mine," he said. "My photos are not diabolical at all, they capture a beautiful, healthy part of the body...I wanted to de-glamorize the classic fashion industry photos, where women totter in high heels wearing bright red lipstick... and everything is revealed apart from the genital triangle, the real heart of seduction."

View photos of Toscani's previous controversial pieces here:

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Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani poses in front of his picture "Kissing Nun" at an exhibition entitled "controversy, justice, ethics and photography" in the Kunsthaus Gallery in Vienna.
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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |