Don’t worry – pin up calendars won’t be a regular feature on Bluesky. But this one needs to be showcased! The venerable Pirelli Tire pin up calendar for 2016 will be showing mostly clothed women who have been chosen for their resume rather than their measurements. Yes, that was the sound of wrenches slipping out of slack hands and crashing to the oil-stained cement you just heard.
The calendar will feature some pretty amazing women on its pages, photographed by Annie Leibovitz (who shot the calendar in the traditional manner in 2000). Yoko Ono, Kathleen Kennedy, Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, and Fran Lebowitz to name a few. The calendar is being produced by the McGarry/Bowen ad agency and their chief strategy office, Jennifer Zimmerman, calls it “the rise of the shero” – the female hero.
There is some subtle nudity in the calendar – Serena Williams is topless, but with her back to the camera in an image designed to show her extradorinaiy athleticism. Amy Schumer is also dressed in some lingerie with her rolls of belly flab proudly on display. Otherwise the images are in a classic understated style that Leibovitz is so brilliant at pulling off.
The question will inevitably arise – is this new calendar a political/ feminist statement or a marketing ploy? Fact is – I don’t really care myself. It’s a huge departure from their tradition and I love that. In reality, I’m kind of tired of straight out pictures of sexy people in sexy poses. I’ve seen it a million times already! If someone creates a shot of a beautiful woman or man in a way that makes a clear and intriguing statement on the concept of beauty or the changing perception of beauty over time, then they will grab my attention. But I gave up on T&A photography when I was a teen.
I am way more intrigued by photographs of fascinating people – who cares whether or not they are celebrities. When there is something substantial about the person being shot, it immediately becomes fascinating to look at how the photographer portrayed them. I hope this becomes the new trend for Pirelli and not just a one-time gimmick.
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Bluesky is a photography tutorial website created by veteran commercial photographer and college instructor Greg Blue. This site advocates an approach to learning studio & location photography that focuses first on light theory (these are free tutorials). Lighting, camera and post-production techniques are equally important, but should follow the study of lighting theory (these tutorials are also free). The site also offers a host of specific image tutorials that take a mile deep look at theory and technique from the perspective of individual images (these tutorials are members only).