Joe Levy, Maxim editor in chief, said on "The Early Show" Lohan was going for a strong, confident and sexy look in the pictures.
Levy explained, "This was a chance for her to really make a statement in a difficult period that got even more difficult shortly after our shoot."
Levy said the photos were taken the Wednesday before she was sentenced to 90 days in jail for probation violations from a 2007 drug case. Lohan served only 14 days of that sentence, due to jail overcrowding. She's now in a rehabilitation facility for a scheduled 90-day stay.
Could a new image of Lindsay Lohan be emerging?
"Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill asked Levy about the starlet's behavior during the photo shoot.
Levy said Lohan was on-time and involved the entire time.
"A lot of our shoots don't start on time. This one did," he said. "This is the rare shoot that finished early. She was easy to work with, very involved with the shoot, collaborated with our photographer, Matt Jones, talked about what she wanted out of the picture, what clothes she wanted to wear and, you know what? An actual pleasure to work with."
Levy added that Lohan told his crew she wanted to put the past behind her.
"She would like to have the press around her focus on what she does, the movies she's made," he said. "She's been to India as part of a BBC documentary. That's an experience she would like to repeat. She'd like to use all this attention for a better end."
But is Maxim really the place to re-launch a new, cleaner image? The magazine is known for sexy photo shoots. Could it detract from her new persona?
Levy replied, "Maxim is a sexy magazine, the largest magazine in the world for young men. We know what our audience wants. We're also a tasteful, fun magazine that celebrates women and gives them a chance to be strong, sexy and confident. We really weren't worried about going too far. We know our limits, she knows our limits. We've worked with Lindsay before. It was just a chance to have fun and have a moment of celebration."
The Maxim issue with Lindsay Lohan on the cover hits the stands on Tuesday, Aug. 10.