Meet Prince Gyasi, the Photographer Shaking Up the Pirelli Calendar

Meet Prince Gyasi, the Photographer Shaking Up the Pirelli Calendar

For years, the annual Pirelli calendar, aka The Cal, has made waves for its exclusivity, glamour, and star-studded lineup—both in front of and behind the camera. To mark The Cal’s 50th anniversary, the visual artist Prince Gyasi was chosen to photograph and conceptualize the 2024 edition, which features talent including Naomi Campbell, Teyana Taylor, Angela Bassett, award-winning writer and the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history Amanda Gorman, Afrobeats superstar Tiwa Savage, Hidden Figures author Margot Lee Shetterly, and more.

Gyasi, who hails from Ghana, brings a distinct visual voice to his work: vibrant colors provide viewers a glimpse of his otherworldly imagination, where a refreshing re-centering of Black subjects is a central theme. The 28-year-old credits his love of photography, in part, to the adults in his life who supported his creative exploration from early childhood. His mother, a respected Ghanaian fashion designer, and a local photographer who ran a photo stand in the marketplace took Gyasi on as a kid apprentice.

“I used to play around with disposable cameras. I’d buy films. I’d spend time in the dark room [with the marketplace photographer] to see how he developed images. I’d try to recreate logos from places like McDonalds and Lego on Microsoft Paint,” says Gyasi, who embraces a multidisciplinary approach to artmaking (his background in sculpture and literature still provide him inspiration to this day). Using what was within reach at the time rather than waiting for so-called perfect circumstances proved essential. Photographing The Cal and overseeing creative direction and casting of the photoshoot, which took place in both Ghana and London, turned out to be a full-circle moment for Gyasi.

Amanda Gorman and Margot Lee Shetterly

Photograph by Prince Gyasi for the Pirelli Calendar

His Royal Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, The Asantehene

Photograph by Prince Gyasi for the Pirelli Calendar

Photograph by Prince Gyasi for the Pirelli Calendar

“For me, it’s always been about where I’m from and how I’ll be able to project our culture and our traditions to the world,” he says. “It’s always a very good feeling to express myself in my country. I wanted some of the talent who’ve never been [to Ghana] to feel the place and understand why I am who I am. It’s also about letting people understand that you’re not a product of your environment––you can switch that narrative up.”

While anyone can admire the images that make up the Pirelli Calendar, copies aren’t available for the public to purchase; instead, they’re gifted to select individuals and celebrities. And although the Pirelli calendar’s extravagance—along with its photoshoot’s million-dollar price tag—have remained a point of interest through the years, Gyasi hopes the 2024 calendar proves timeless: with vibrant, thoughtful imagery celebrating cultural titans across the Black diaspora and the vitalness of community.

“Community is everything. I feel a lot of selfishness in this world…I want people to understand that if you’re selfish, you might get [where you want to be,] but you’re gonna get stuck,” he says. “You need people to help you get there. That’s my message. And also, everyone has their own voice and they can let their voice be heard and not try to copy someone’s blueprint to become that person. They have to be themselves.”

“If I speak and your voice comes out of my mouth, that would be very scary,” Gyasi adds, laughing. “That will never be authentic. You should have your own voice and speak from what god has already given you.”

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