Is It the End of the Pirelli Calendar As We Know It?

Is It the End of the Pirelli Calendar As We Know It?

The unveiling of the Pirelli calendar is due... well, it just happened... and it's going to blow your socks off. Or not. Check out the behind-the-scenes video below.

Since 1964 the Pirelli group, a multinational group based in Milan that is one of the world's leading tire manufacturers, has been releasing a coffee book that is not like any other. They took the concept of mechanics that place posters of naked girls in very suggestive poses on their walls to a whole new level. The Pirelli calendar became a high-end corporate gift and a privilege; to be shooting for and to be seen in.

The best of the best have been associated with this project. Every year a new concept, a new location, and a new set of muses. Their past photographers include Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber, Patrick Demarchelier, and Steven Meisel. Their models are either famous actresses or top-models, such as Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Hillary Swank, Naomi Watts, Kate Moss, Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima, Natalia Vodianova, and the list continues. As the exotic locations changed, so did the creatives. The one thing that did not change was the amount of skin shown. Artsy nudes that would make you want to dream of another reality.

For the 2015–2016 calendar, it's a revolution... or so it appears. Annie Leibovitz (who already signed the 2000 edition) shoots women not casted for their looks but for their achievements in their field. The pictures are a series of portraits of Yoko Ono, Patti Smith, Serena Williams, Fran Lebowitz, Amy Schumer, Tavi Gevinson, Ava DuVernay, Natalia Vodianova, Agnes Gund, Kathleen Kennedy, Mellody Hobson, Shirin Neshat, and Yao Chen.

I can hear the feminists of the world cheering in unison and the men sniffling. The debate on the way a women's body is represented in the media has been going for quite a while. We have heard the yearly recycled motto of no more super skinny models on runways, the plus-size models have entered the casting ring, and the retouching trends are moving away from doll-like perfection to embellished reality (well some brands haven't exactly gotten the memo, but you can't ask too much either). The change in the Pirelli calendar could be the illustration that Western civilization might be needing some authenticity right now. Let's chat again in 2017.

[via Vogue and Harper's Bazaar]





Anna Dabrowska's picture

Anna Dabrowska is a beauty and fashion photographer based in Paris.

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As much as I think the concept is interesting, I'm just not convinced by the pictures. Some pictures have a crooked horizon, a weird composition or even some kind of negative clarity look going on. I just don't get it… and I'm not even talking about having the softboxes/strobes, light stands, apple boxes and other accessories showing up for no reason on the shots. Why not go out and shoot on location if the neutral environment of a studio isn't desired?
Some previous calendar where much better photographically speaking. Steve McCurry's, for example, was great and didn't have only nude pictures in it.
I guess we all have different taste.

My favorite was by Avedon!

The shots are derivative and uninspired. But, I also respect Annie Leibovitz's work overall and what a great career. Certainly the most celebrated photographer of the last 40 years.

She definitely has done some great, even outstanding, work in her career. This, just like the Disney inspired pictures, is weak in comparison to some cover she's done for Vogue or Vanity Fair.
But then we don't know everything. Working on commercial/commissioned shoots, sometimes some choices are made by others and we have to work with it, under short deadlines and a given budget.

Are they selling new tires or spare tires?

Proof read your articles!

I agree, but perhaps in this case, English is not her primary language. There is no proofing of articles on this site, either way.

When I look at these images I'm reminded of just how great is the lasting influence of Irving Penn. But no one else has done it as well. As to these images as a calendar, perhaps they don't care about sales because this is not going to be a big seller.

You can't buy one. They are only given away.

They are going to be giving away a lot of these.

All of them. That's the point. And it's considered a privilege to get one. Or was. ;)

I think that Pirelli has "jumped the shark" (a Happy Day's reference for when the TV show started going downhill). I think that they are dismissing their clientele. But then again, a few months ago, Playboy announced that they would not feature nude photography in their magazine.

You have a new link for the video? Seems to be broken.

I see Chuck has passed on the disgusting genes.

Honestly, I think that this years calendar is boring. I commend Pirelli for stepping up to change the game, but the concept sucks and the results to me don't reflect the prestige and heritage of years past. This is not an attack on the participants involved or the new direction Pirelli wants to take the calendar in. This doesn't look like Pirelli calendar, it looks like a Vanity Fair calendar. And this is sad. Annie was not the right choice for this issue.

How incredibly stupid. I have a book of most of the past years calendars, all very cool and varied....interesting. This is just so incredibly weird though, who does she think is hanging these calendars up in the mechanics shop?......this year the answer will be no one. So good she doesn't even have to try....apparently.

Meh, mechanics usually are trying to get their hands on the Wurth calendars. I know that's what I always had hanging up in my shop. :)

Showing powerful, influential and intelligent women instead of half naked models in suggestive poses, I for one congratulate pirelli on this move.

Steve McCurry's 2013 calendar was a stand out.

you definitely are the "one"... ;)

The world as we know it is going to end .....

Interesting concept, that's about all I can say about it. I think this is another step for the PC-friendly world we live in, unfortunately. It's another knock on the freedom of a photographer (and model involved) expressing his artistic vision with an actual model. I think the concept of it is cool for uplifting women, but I just feel like it's going in a direction that won't see the calendar going back to what made it famous. Next year, if they go back to shooting in their famous style, the feminists will come out screaming about their objectifying women and anything else they can conjure up - and Pirelli just gave them fuel for the fire, just for a few extra sales of the calendar...

Why would you consider shooting women that are not naked a knock on the freedom of a photographer?? Pirelli is not telling you or anybody else not to shoot nudes, for this year they just opted for something else. .. And the calendar is not sold, it is a corporate gift...

Well to me, and I know people working with the calendar each year, I think it was just them giving in to external "pressure" on people complaining about objectifying women. And I think it's a real shame, because it's just another example of a company or artform being compromised due to having to be or wanting to be politically correct.

You guys have it wrong. Honestly, they really care less of the quality of the images or if the calendar is a merit to previous calendars. Fuck that! My mother in law now is talking about this calendar and brand... Now people that didn't know crap about this brand now know about it because popular media have taken this for a spin. This is about selling to the mass media... that's all and is fucking working like magic! This stuff is everywhere.

Absolutely right. It's all salesmanship in the end.