Italian company Pirelli is known for two things — its tire manufacturing and its annual calendar. The exclusive calendar typically features the world’s top supermodels shot by renowned fashion photographers, often in revealing outfits and sexy poses. But their 2016 calendar’s taking a much different approach.
The new Pirelli calendar debuted earlier today, and brings a change in style to the company’s past releases. With portraits shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, the 2016 Pirelli calendar highlights powerful, influential women with various backgrounds in the arts, entertainment, sports and more.
The calendar features 13 powerful women including Ava DuVernay, Yoko Ono, Patti Smith and more. The new approach was actually mandated by Pirelli instead of the renowned photographer. When commenting on her work, Leibovitz noted that, “[Pirelli] came to me with the mandate that they would like to do something different.” But she still maintained maximum creative control, going on to note that, “I didn’t let them in the door once I started shooting.” That shows in the portraits, which retain Leibovitz’s signature clean style with stark black and white lighting. The photos don’t objectify their subjects, instead portraying them as exactly what they are; strong, powerful, influential women.
Even when it uses nudity, this year’s calendar does it in a tasteful, artistic way. Both Amy Schumer and Serena Williams are featured in topless pose, but that fact doesn’t undermine the calendar. Leibovitz uses these poses to highlight her subjects in a way that complements their public personas and achievements. For Schumer, it works to comment on her body positive mentality and somewhat raunchy comedy, while Williams’ skin-baring portrait highlights her incredible athletic prowess. In the end, these portraits stand in stark contrast to the titillating imagery of past releases.
What do you think of Annie Leibovitz’s latest work? Do these portraits accurately capture the incredible women they feature? Let us know in the comments below. And for a behind the scenes look at the making of the calendar, check out this video.