If you’re into fashion or beauty photography, the Pirelli Calendar would be one you’re very familiar with, even if you’ve not been one of the lucky ones to get your hands on the exclusive publication that celebrated it’s 50th anniversary in 2015. It’s perhaps one of the most coveted publications in the industry for both those who are part of it, and those who would consume it. Pirelli has made it an item of desire by working with legends like Avedon and Newton, and by limiting supply. Frankly, you couldn’t just choose to buy one, you were chosen by Pirelli. As such, when it comes to those who shoot it and those who are in it, Pirelli was never picking from the bottom.
One of the ways they managed to stay relevant over a half century, through generations of people and ages of photography, is by giving the photographers free-reign to shoot as they like. Those individual expressions showed something of the times, while still carrying over the traditional with the contemporary.
When Annie Liebovitz shot her second calendar for the 2016 year, there was much kick-back as she tried to change the calendar by choosing not to shoot the paragons of female physical beauty, but instead women who are nonpareil in their various areas of achievement. So instead of Adriana, we have Amy (Schumer), Kathleen instead of Karlie, and in place of Sophia, we have Serena (Williams). What Annie and some genius marketer in the bowels of Pirelli’s offices have done is shifted the calendar from something to hang on a wall, to something of a discussion, but from the revamped website dedicated to the calendar we see that Pirelli is going back to form with Peter Lindbergh.
Lindbergh will now be able to distinguish himself as the only photographer who will have shot the calendar 3 times; first in 1996, then in 2002. In-between, there have been other names like Nick Knight, Bruce weber, Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, Richard Avedon, and Patrick Demarchelier; some of which have shot twice, but the distinction of shooting a third is solely Lindbergh’s.
The new site has an interview with Lindbergh, and has a section called ‘Stories’ which have articles and imagery about special editions of the calendar, and of course there’s a timeline which takes you from start to current on all the years the calendar has been around. But perhaps most excitingly, is that we get a peek at the 2017 calendar, and notice that next week there will be more revealed in the way of the faces for the upcoming edition. And you’ll get a look at some of the gear used and the set-ups, which is always nice. Check it out here.
Post script: If you’re into fashion photography, keep in mind we’ve partnered with BREED and currently stream their Fashion Photography Exposed for Premium. Find it here.
Book featured: Pirelli – The Calendar: 50 Years And More