The 43rd edition of the Pirelli Calendar was created by one of the most celebrated American photographers and portraitists, Annie Leibovitz, who shot the work last July in her New York studio. Leibovitz is also the creator of the 2000 Pirelli Calendar, which featured choreographer Mark Morris’s dancers. The 2000 pictures were the first set of nudes of her career.
The 2016 Pirelli Calendar features 13 women of outstanding professional, social, cultural, sporting and artistic accomplishment: actress Yao Chen, the first Chinese UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador; Russian top model Natalia Vodianova, founder of the charity Naked Heart Russia; producer Kathleen Kennedy, the Chairperson of Lucasfilm and one of the most influential figures in Hollywood; art collector and patroness Agnes Gund (with her granddaughter Sadie Rain Hope-Gund), President Emerita of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; tennis player Serena Williams, number one in the world; opinion leader, critic and writer Fran Lebowitz; the President of Ariel Investments, Mellody Hobson, who supports charity projects in Chicago; film director Ava DuVernay, whose films include Selma, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in 2015; blogger Tavi Gevinson, founder of Style Rookie and online magazine Rookie; Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat; artist, musician and performer Yoko Ono; singer Patti Smith, one of the top rock stars of all time; and the actress and stand-up comedian Amy Schumer.
The women are of different ages and backgrounds and have different kinds of careers. As was the case with the first few Calendars of the Sixties and, more recently, in Peter Lindbergh’s 2002 Calendar, or Patrick Demarchelier’s 2008 and Steve McCurry’s 2013 Calendars, there are no nudes.
“The 2000 Calendar was an exercise in photographing nudes. It was a simple concept,” Leibovitz says. “For 2016, we did something completely different, but it is still simple. It is a classic set of black-and-white portraits made in the studio.”
“When Pirelli approached me, they said they wanted to make a departure from the past. They suggested the idea of photographing distinguished women. After we agreed on that, the goal was to be very straightforward. I wanted the pictures to show the women exactly as they are, with no pretense.
“I’m a great admirer of comediennes. The Amy Schumer portrait added some fun. It’s as if she didn’t get the memo saying that she could keep her clothes on.”
The presentation of the 2016 edition enriches the dedicated website with new content: videos, photographs and interviews to tell its story. On the occasion of the launch, there is a video which presents the 2016 Pirelli Calendar by Annie Leibovitz and a selection of her shots will be added to the extensive archive material, including some images which have never been seen before, which - grouped into decades – offer an overview of the evolution of a half a century of social customs, from 1963 to today.
The website consists of three sections: The Cal 2016, Icons and Time Machine. As well as the “2016 The Cal” section which is dedicated to the latest edition, the “Time Machine” area includes images from past editions and a summary of back stage videos grouped into decades. A veritable virtual voyage through the evolution of aesthetics and social customs not only through the gaze of the world’s most renowned photographers, but also through comments which help contextualize the various periods from a historical-political perspective. Online, it is already possible to travel through recent years and also through the 60s, 70s, 80s, while the 90s and 2000s with soon be published. Digitalization and historical reconstruction of some of the materials will gradually be completed through photographer and collector Amedeo M. Turello’s technical expertise who in the past and together with Walter Guadagnini, was the curator of the exhibition titled "Forma e Desiderio – The Cal, Collezione Pirelli", under the patronage of the Municipality of Milano and organized by GAmm Giunti and Palazzo Reale, the exhibition venue. In the Icons section, you can a browse through the biographies of many celebrities in fields such as art, culture, entertainment, fashion, sport and music: Roberto Bolle, Candice Huffine, Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Newson, and many others to come.