The Pirelli calendar is produced in limited quantities and can be difficult to obtain, which only adds to its mystery and aura.
The calendar, which often features top models and A-list actresses and celebrities wearing very little clothing or none at all, has a look, theme and choice of talent which rests in the hands of the photographer. The Italian tire company keeps the production under wraps, teasing out bits of information in the weeks and days leading up to the launch.
The first piece of intel: Albert Watson is the shooter of the 2019 calendar images. In what could be a departure from the sexually charged photos of previous years, Watson reportedly had a strong theme that explores the current societal shift in perceptions of success, especially for women. Watson recognized that women today are less judged by others. Rather, they’re guided by their own dreams and values.
Watson wanted to approach the calendar “in a different way to the other photographers, exploring the women with a sense of inquiry to create a situation that’s important for 2019. If you remember anything from this 2019 calendar, you’ll remember that I like to do pure photography, nothing else.” Peter Beard, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Peter Lindbergh, Terry Richardson and have shot the Pirelli calendar.
Watson, since the mid-Seventies, has shot more than 100 covers and more than 40 covers for Rolling Stone. He’s taken portraits of everyone from a nude Kate Moss on her 19th birthday to Steve Jobs and Alfred Hitchcock holding a plucked goose.
Watson, who had a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, has published five books. The Pirelli calendar, which has been around with the Sixties, has broken with its racy tradition before. The 2018 version, featured all black talent and was cast and directed by Edward Enninful, the first black editor in chief of British Vogue, and shot by Tim Walker, who was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”