The Italian tire company Pirelli releases a new edition of the Pirelli calendar every year. It contains the best shots of naked world-famous models and celebrities. These are B&W images or pics featuring pastel colors.
Pirelli calendar best photos are used as samples of professionally made images in many modern photographer schools even today. After its debut in 1964, the calendar started to symbolize luxury, beauty, and elegance and nowadays it is one of the most popular collectibles.
Moreover, the publication is not for sale and is only available as a corporate gift for honorable clients of the Pirelli company or some influential celebrities.
From its first release in 1964 and for a long time after, the Pirelli calendar has served to showcase the beauty of the female body. The captivating model poses, grabbed the eyes of the company’s clients, which made the publication famous almost in an instant.
The first ever released calendar belonged to Robert Freeman who was the first shooter of this collectible and the official The Beatles photographer. It had a resounding success, and the company’s owners decided to release the publication annually. The exception was the period from 1975 to 1983 when the next edition did not appear because of the oil crisis.
Many famous portrait photographers like Annie Leibovitz and Peter Lindbergh worked with such celebrities like Serena Wiliams, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman featuring them fully clothed or with little make-up on pictures.
Changes in the Pirelli Models Photos
Before 2017 their concept was to take photos of naked or half-naked people, women mostly, who do sports boasting their fit bodies. Over the past couple of years, the company changed its strategy and instead of nude girls with perfect shapes and skin, they invited bright personalities to a photoshoot printing their images with their company’s name.
No matter which field they were famous in, only the fact that they somehow differed from the others and had some ideas to show was of prime importance. To participate in the project, they invited models and showbiz stars. From this point, photo poses for women were not overtly sexual, and the photo conveyed some message.
After the rise of feminism, the company also started to show women as living human beings, instead of simple sex objects. The evolution took some time, but it eventually happened after changing the approach to photography in general, the portrait genre, and other photography styles.
The first photographer, who changed the rules of the game was Annie Leibovitz, and it happened in 2016. Rather than showing the curves of the model’s body, she started to work with women of different professions, nationalities, and ages. In 2017, Peter Lindberg followed Annie’s style and shot star actresses without makeup.
Lindbergh described this project as follows: the calendar was going to become an ode to individuality and to feminine courage. The photographers decided that live emotions mattered much more than ideal bodies, so they aimed to demonstrate the inner world of their heroines as their most important part to others.
The photo sessions took place in five different cities, including Berlin, New York, and even a small French town Le Touquet. They lasted for two months, May and June, and after the work was done, the calendar contained the forty best Pirelli calendar photos and they were both shot indoors and outdoors.
There are a lot of classic stories and books that once were put into legends, myths, stories, and TV series we all adore. Some histories were remade and redefined like Game of Thrones photoshoots, they were interpreted in various ways so many times that it seemed impossible to create something new from such stuff. But they managed to succeed. Pirelli decided to do something really unexpected.
This time the calendar was inspired by the bestseller known by young and elderly people: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The shooter’s name was Tim Walker and the models were chosen from the world of fashion as well.
Walker is a well-known photographer, who has cooperated with Vogue magazine for many years. He makes pictures in a unique style and goes beyond fashion photography with its high end photo retouching that we are used to.
Pirelli calendar pics feature black protagonists bringing up the issue of inclusivity and diversity in fashion. There have been no cases when Alice was represented as a black girl, so the photographer wanted to destroy these stereotypes by representing the fictional figure in another way and discoursing the evolving ideas of beauty.
The models posed in amazing costumes against a set created by Shona Heath, who is known for her long collaboration with Tim Walker. As a result, the “Alice in Wonderland” calendar features Lupita Nyong’o as The Dormouse, Whoopi Goldberg as The Royal Duchess, and British model Adwoa Aboah as Tweedledee.
Male models also starred in this year’s photoshoot. Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs worked with Naomi Campbell playing the role of The Royal Beheaders. A TV personality, drag queen Ru Paul, and rapper Lil Yachty participated as well.
The Most Iconic Pirelli Calendar Photos of All Times
Here are the Pirelli calendar best photos taken from the editions of different years.
This vintage pic made by Terence Donovan is not typical for the Pirelli calendar of the 1970s, but the whole series of photos of this author was included in the first edition when the naked female body was not yet the main subject of the publication.
The shots that became part of the next Pirelli edition set the tone for the philosophy of the calendar for many years, right up to today. Glamour photo retouching was one of the distinguished features of photography of that time.
In 1984, a group erotic photoshoot took place featuring the following models: Angie Lane, Susie-Anne Watkins, Jay Wood, and Julie Martin. The photographer Uwe Ommer chose the Bahamas as a shooting location.
Right in the 90s, photographers started to shoot actresses and other artists for publication. This Pirelli calendar pic of Cindy Crawford has become one of the symbols of this publication. Therefore, portrait retouching services that provide detailed retouching have gained a positive reputation.
Peter Lindberg was a game changer, as his main focus was to show a model’s personality when conducting a photo session. He considered a portrait background as the main component of a successful photo shoot.
Nevertheless, the publication periodically demonstrated sexuality on its pages, but not in a vulgar way. Instead, the photographers tried to showcase a moderate nudity aesthetic, like in this Pirelli calendar photo of Anna Evers on a bike.
This image is from a series of the sensational Alice in Wonderland photoshoots with the participation of black models. Here Ducky Toth is in the main role.
The images of the latest editions of the calendar aimed to convey some ideas increasing their artistic value, and the demonstration of the body took to a back seat. A series of photos by Gigi Hadid for the 2019 calendar, in a sense, raise the current social problems of humanity.
Pirelli calendar pics also feature men. Moreover, nowadays it often contains self-portraits of famous photographers like the pic above taken by Bryan Adams.
Modern photo calendars are filled with lots of detail and intricate decorations. Now these are not just photos, but the mini staging, created by a whole team of stage designers, dressers, make-up artists, etc.
Emma Summerton made a whole series of similar photos, each of which reveals the essence of different professions/personal characteristics. This Pirelli calendar photo featuring Cara Delevigne is titled “The Performer”.
While media is a great source of political influence, Pirelli likes to make their products rethink and redefine things that already exist in a totally new way. Knowing well that they are responsible for the themes and sources of inspiration of many people, they provide totally clear statements about their politics, values, principles, and, of course, requirements.
The company’s specialists believe that by promoting this really deep orientation that is turned to the high-end level of photography, they change essential basics of environmental and ethical standards for the best.
The Pirelli calendar has had a considerable impact on contemporary photography. It features some of the world’s most iconic shooters and models, setting the standard for glamor and beauty in this art.
The company is also credited with helping to break down gender stereotypes and create a more diverse representation of beauty in the media. The influence of the calendar can be seen in fashion photography, editorial shoots, advertising campaigns, and more. As a result, plus size boudoir photo sessions and similar stuff appeared in world-famous magazines.
The company popularized thematic photoshoots so many famous publications started to showcase such pics on their pages. It especially concerns a superhero photography session made by Vogue featuring Gal Gadot, Brie Larson, and Margot Robbie.
Besides, nowadays the network is full of various tutorials on how to repeat famous want to repeat famous looks from the Pirelli photoshoots, like the Game of Thrones Photoshop tutorial and lots of Photoshop tips shared by professional digital retouchers.