Fight the nude photo calendars

Fight the nude photo calendars

In Germany, photo calendars for craft businesses and workshops have a long tradition. It used to be good manners to give calendars to your customers. I myself have photographed individual calendars for various industrial companies. This tradition seems to be coming to an end.


Everyone has probably heard of the Pirelli calendar. Since 1964, the calendar has been considered one of the most famous art projects in the world and has attracted many famous photographers and models over the years. It is not available to the public, but is distributed exclusively as gifts to selected customers and business partners of Pirelli.

The calendar has been controversial and some say photographs could be considered sexually suggestive or even sexist. In 2021 it was announced that the calendar would be discontinued and I myself was not aware that it actually existed again.

In my tire workshop they still have an old Pirelli calendar on the wall with very nice shots. The newer motifs with clothed models were not so well received by the workers there.

The photos in the 2023 Pirelli calendar turned out very atmospheric and beautiful. But I can't imagine them fitting in a car workshop. Sorry.

It even strikes me as a bit of intellectual posturing or an attempt at re-education. Maybe for me personally, the visuals are just too well-behaved and don't fit the still rather male target group.

Or is the new Pirelli just a calendar for the executive floors and the working base no longer gets to see this calendar?

Judge for yourself:

Other examples

The discussion about sexism has also reached the topic of calendars at other companies. The German industrial company Würth, for example, has announced that there will be no more Würth calendars from 2023.

Yet there were already no naked women in the 2022 Würth calendar (and not even women shown holding products) as you can see below. And there was also already a calendar with men.

Under this aspect, I find the discussion about sexism and objectification somewhat surprising.


Already in 2019, the production of the Stihl calendar with lightly dressed women was stopped after the Swedish forestry agency threatened the German Stihl Group not to buy any more equipment from Stihl if calendars with women continued to appear. Stihl now only produces a Timber-Sports calendar — fair enough.

What constitutes objectification?

In this day and age, society has become very cautious when it comes to portraying women. The sexism card is quickly pulled and from my point of view this is often exaggerated. I myself have never taken photos where women were portrayed as sex objects next to products of an industrial company. That's always been dumb, right?

But what's to say against artful photos of pretty women in the context of the company's activities? So at Stihl, for example, naked women in the forest? Naked men in the forest, too, if you like.

It's obviously difficult to understand nude photography as art.

What's the deal with corporate calendars?

A calendar is a great customer loyalty tool. You get your brand remembered every day because you're prominently displayed in the workplace.

It depends a lot on the visuals of the calendar. This is exactly where the art lies! Finding the right tonality so that the nude photos don't look cheap, but are stylish.

It's absolutely clear that a calendar should never violate personal or social values. But who actually defines these values?


I think it's absolutely okay when companies decide to stop producing nude calendars. Social developments always take place and things change.

Nevertheless, I must honestly admit that I liked the Pirelli calendars from the 90s better than the current motifs. And that I don't find it bad if a photo of a naked woman (also e.g. a centerfold poster) hangs in a car workshop. I see nothing objectionable about that.

By the way, I wouldn't mind a photo of a naked man hanging in a locker either. A little more serenity would be appropriate!

Has society become too sensitive?

I am convinced that a little more levity, nonchalance and tolerance would do good. At the same time, I would like to clearly distance myself from machismo and insults. Seeing women as objects is not ok. But to see nude photography as art is perfectly fine.

It would be nice if an open society would develop more tolerance and would not smell scandals everywhere.

Regarding calendars, some people find them stupid and others find them great. Shouldn't a society be able to deal with that?

Not everything is automatically good today just because it was good in the past. But not everything that was good in the past is bad today, either.