Pirelli Calendar 2016

I am coordinator of the MA theory module ‘Critical Contexts’, shared by all MA students in the School of Film, Media and Performing Arts. This year we have five MFA Photography students on this module, all very engaged. Quite a few of them are interested in the gender issues in photography, and under-representation of female photographers in the history of photography is one of the problems. In one of our student-led reading groups, ‘Ally’ cleverly devised a quiz, which asked participants to guess which image was taken by a female photographer and which by a male photographer, as a way of challenging the stereotypical image of a fe/male photographer and their interests (that also reminded me of a quiz that Radio 3 did – guess which music was composed by female composers). Of course, Annie Leibovitz was in the quiz. The unreplaceable position of Annie Leibovitz is evidenced by the newly released Pirelli 2016 calendar, which celebrates not only (different) female bodies but also achievements. It’s about ‘different ways of looking women’, said Fran Lebowitz. Is this significant? Oh definitely – as it has been termed ‘a cultural shift’ (Friedman 2015). Time to update my lecture on gender and media with this addition. Annie Leibovitz on the 2016 Pirelli calendar in a Guardian video.

Amy Schumer, Fran Lebowitz, Tavi Gevinson (left to right; Source: Friedman 30 November 2015 in the New York Times)



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