2019 Pirelli cal­en­dar puts lens on women's am­bi­tion

El Dorado News-Times - - Fun & Games -

MI­LAN (AP) — Pho­tog­ra­pher Al­bert Wat­son is keep­ing the Pirelli cal­en­dar on its arc away from its pinup ori­gins, por­tray­ing four women pur­su­ing their am­bi­tions.

The 2019 Pirelli cal­en­dar un­veiled Wed­nes­day fea­tures bal­let dancer Misty Copeland as an as­pir­ing dancer, ac­tress Ju­lia Garner as a botan­i­cal pho­tog­ra­pher, model Gigi Ha­did as a dis­en­chanted so­cialite and French model and ac­tress Laeti­tia Casta as an artist.

Wat­son said he wanted to cre­ate an art-driven project and was in­spired by 1930s and 1940s cin­ema to tell sto­ries about women, each ac­com­pa­nied by a part­ner, friend or con­fi­dante. Copeland, for ex­am­ple, plays a strip­per who is work­ing with her part­ner, por­trayed by dancer Calvin Royal III, to be­come bal­let dancers.

"The idea was to change Pirelli, and not to do Misty or Ju­lia or Laeti­tia as pin­ups. That is why I in­tro­duced quite strongly some men into this, be­cause it was about their lives," Wat­son said.

The Pirelli cal­en­dar's fo­cus on pin­ups came from its start in 1964 as a free­bie for sup­pli­ers and cus­tomers to hang in places like me­chan­ics' garages. Over the years, it evolved into a ma­jor plat­form for top pho­tog­ra­phers, and since An­nie Liebowitz's 2016 edi­tion it has been mov­ing away from nu­dity.

The 40 pho­to­graphs in Wat­son's cal­en­dar in­clude sev­eral mod­est nudes: Ha­did sits pen­sively in a shower, arms wrapped around her legs and par­tially shielded by glazed glass. Copeland is curved into a ball.

Copeland had no qualms about pos­ing nude, say­ing she was aware of how the cal­en­dar had evolved. She was es­pe­cially ex­cited to par­tic­i­pate af­ter last year's all-black cast recre­at­ing Al­ice in Won­der­land, which she de­scribed as "push­ing the move­ment for­ward."

Wat­son's vi­sion, she said, por­trays strong women who are tak­ing charge of their lives, which is fit­ting these days.

"I think women are tak­ing a stand, we are stand­ing up for our­selves and we have some­thing to say," Copeland said. "I think this cal­en­dar has an amaz­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion of this."

While he is known largely as a fash­ion and celebrity pho­tog­ra­pher, Wat­son noted his ex­pe­ri­ence di­rect­ing hun­dreds of com­mer­cials, in­clud­ing for Exxon and Toy­ota, which gave him ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with ac­tors.

"I wanted to make the pic­tures a lit­tle di­verse and com­pli­cated," he said.

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