The January image from the 2014 Pirelli calendar Photo: Helmut Newton
This year’s Pirelli calendar may come as a surprise to some – but unusually it won’t be because of the top models and exaggerated eroticism that we’ve come to expect in recent years thanks to photographers such as Terry Richardson, Karl Lagerfeld and Mario Sorrenti. The 2014 edition is in fact a previously unpublished calendar that was shot by the late Helmut Newton – who passed away in 2004 – with the intention of releasing it in 1986.
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In 1985, Pirelli’s British and Italian teams both commissioned a 1986 calendar – Britain enlisting photographer Bert Stern, Italy enlisting Newton. Until then, the project had been handled solely by the UK arm of the company.
A slight ruckus ensued as to which version would be published. Coincidentally, Newton had to abandon his project mid-way through shooting due to personal issues, and as such the commission was won by his contemporary Stern.
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Nevertheless, Newton’s vision was completed by his faithful assistants Manuela Pavesi and Xavier Alloncle – to his precise specifications – and then stored in the Pirelli archives as a ‘family heirloom’ waiting for the right occasion to step into the limelight.
Serendipitously, 2014 and 1986 share the same calendar year.
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This year’s edition presents 12 black and white fine art photographs, plus 28 behind-the-scenes images, all shot in Monte Carlo and Chianti. In contrast to more recent issues, Newton was additionally given the task of including the Pirelli product in all of the shots.
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