The much-anticipated Pirelli calendar is about to be released. I didn’t shoot it. Again.
The 2017 Pirelli Calendar, the only calendar on the planet that actually matters, was just announced. Once again, they did not ask me to shoot it. I keep waiting, every February, for a phone call or an email or something. Never happens. Maybe it has something to do with the severity of my opinions. Maybe it has something to do with me not having traveled outside the US in over 20 years. Whatever the reason, they went with German photographer Peter Lindbergh for the third time. I guess I can understand their choice. He’s even older than I am. Best take advantage of his skill before he croaks or something.
The one thing that is getting all the PR attention with this year’s calendar is that there’s no digital retouching of the models, actually actresses, who appear in the calendar. That doesn’t mean care wasn’t taken with hair and makeup, of course. But the calendar, which Lindbergh names “Emotional,” is a little more raw, a little more “unpolished” than what we are accustomed to seeing in a Pirelli calendar.
Lindbergh says his aim in creating the calendar was, “not shoot a calendar about perfect bodies but to capture sensitivity and emotion, laying bare the souls of the women in the images, rendering them more naked than a nude.”
So, here we have a Pirelli Calendar that does not contain bikinis or bare bosoms or some of the other stereotypical characteristics of the calendar with which we’ve become familiar. If one is a fan of quality photography, one will want this calendar. If one was just wanting the calendar for its boobs, this would be the year to pass.
I Can Do That—Maybe
I don’t especially like calendars. I don’t use calendars other than the one on my computer. I stopped trying to produce calendars several years ago because it takes a helluva lot of volume to actually make anything off them. Few calendars actually sell all that well. The effort and coordination and planning it takes to pull off a calendar that can compete with the Pirelli product is immense. Without the marketing and logistics structure in place to mass market a calendar, the effort just isn’t worth it.
However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it every year at this time when the famous calendar makes its appearance. Could we produce something in the same style? Do we have shots we could potentially release without any retouching to them? If we do, are there enough to compose an entire calendar?
This year, I think the answer is yes, we probably could produce a calendar of images that have not be retouched. Actually, after having looked over the archives this morning, we could probably produce enough content for at least three such calendars. Of course, we’re not going to do that. No one has asked me to do that. The logistics would be a nightmare.
Still, it’s fun to imagine that, were we to produce such a calendar, which images would we use? I only took about 30 minutes to select the ones here, so it’s possible there are better-suited images still lurking in the archives, but at a very high-level scan, these would be among my early choices. There’s no retouching to any of them. While we were careful in our black and white processing, we didn’t lay a finger to any blemish, or circles under eyes, or wrinkles, or freckles, etc. Emotional? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The images weren’t shot with that particular aspect in mind, but many of our images do tend to convey some sense of emotion. You have to be the judge there.
So, here they are, 14 images if you count the ones both above and below this copy. If we were doing a calendar, these are the ones we’d choose. But we’re not doing a calendar. And this isn’t Pirelli.