Peter Beard Shoots Elephants, Calendar Girls

And speaking of safaris, photographer Peter Beard has brought his Ansel Adams-meets-Robert Rauschenberg-meets-Zoobooks aesthetic to the 2009 Pirelli calendar, which has—you guessed it—an African theme. Because nothing says December like meerkats! (The 2008 version showcased twelve months of Patrick Demarchelier-photographed “Pearls of the Orient,” a nod to Pirelli’s new plant in China’s Shandong Province.) In case you’re unfamiliar with the Italian tire company’s famed calendar, we point you to this recent Financial Times piece on its history. The near total creative control exerted by the star photographer who gets the plum assignment makes for “a calendar whose only consistent theme is unpredictability.” In addition to Beard and Demarchelier, past Pirelli calendar photographers incude Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Bruce Weber, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Nick Knight, and Mario Testino. Note to Pirelli: give Marilyn Minter a call for 2010.