London, 19 November 2009 – The 2010 Pirelli Calendar, now in its 37th edition, was presented to the press and to guests and collectors from around the world, at its global premiere in London. The much-awaited appointment with ‘The Cal’, a cult object for over 40 years, was held this year at Old Billingsgate, the suggestive late 19th century building on the banks of the Thames, where from 1875 to 1982 it housed the capital city’s fish market.
Following China, immortalized by Patrick Demarchelier in the 2008 edition, and Botswana shot by Peter Beard a year later, 2010 is the year of Brazil and of American photographer Terry Richardson, the celebrated “enfant terrible” known for his provocative and outrageous approach.
In the 30 images that scan the months of 2010, Terry Richardson depicts a return to a playful, pure Eros. Through his lens he runs after fantasies and provokes, but with a simplicity that sculpts and captures the sunniest side of femininity. He portrays a woman who is captivating because she is natural, who plays with stereotypes in order to undo them, who makes irony the only veil she covers herself with. This is a return to the natural, authentic atmospheres and images of the ‘60s and ‘70s. It is a clear homage to the Calendar’s origins, a throwback to the first editions by Robert Freeman (1964), Brian Duffy (1965) and Harry Peccinotti (1968 and 1969). Terry Richardson, like his illustrious predecessors, has chosen a simple kind of photography, without retouching, where naturalness prevails over technique and becomes the key to removing artificial excesses in vogue today to reveal the true woman underneath.
The rooster, the sabre, the jets of water and the old tyres become the punctuation marks giving rhythm and harmony to the tale told by Richardson, where suggestions of the Pop Art that inspired some early editions of the Calendar merge with an Eros typical of this American photographer, that Eros which in the 2010 Cal is evoked only slightly, through allusions which Richardson uses to mock convention, giving form and carnality to things taboo.
This is a Calendar which Francesco Negri Arnoldi, former Art History Professor at the University of Salento in Lecce and University Tor Vergata in Rome, considers Pop. He defines it as “totally new, in its return to the past; absolutely original, in its consolidated tradition, and capable of rediscovering the charm of all-natural femininity”. With the return to Pop Art, the language adopted is an essential and immediate iconographic language, understandable by all and contaminated only by daily life.
The 2010 edition is a clear expression and Terry Richardson is its interpreter: he portrays figures without frills, removed from complicated and artificial contexts set by fashion trends. The setting has no showy backgrounds or schemes, in line with the photographer’s simplicity and focus on the essential. “A great photographer,” says Richardson, “captures the moment – that’s why I shoot without extra equipment and without assistants.
“My technique is the absence of technique: the lens is my eye, my charisma, my ability to capture moments of truth, whatever they may be, picture angles, use of color, light, scenery – these have always been the essential aspects of my photographic art.”
Eleven models appear in the Calendar: Catherine McNeil, Abbey Lee Kershaw and Miranda Kerr of Australia, Eniko Mihalik from Hungary, Marloes Horst of the Netherlands, Lily Cole, Daisy Lowe, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley from the UK, Georgina Stojilijkovic of Serbia and two Brazilian natives, Gracie Carvalho and Ana Beatriz Barros.