2011 Lavazza Calendar Cover.
Falling in love in Italy, the official title of the 19th Lavazza Calendar, a statement that Lavazza has been proudly promoting for years, thanks to a succession of international photographers asked to give their personal, unique interpretations of the "Belpaese".
Presented to the international press in Milan, a cosmopolitan city with a strong Italian identity and a whole host of contemporary and urban passions, the Lavazza Calendar is proving to be a cult item for collectors and photography enthusiasts from all over the world.
The event was celebrated with a private party along the Navigli — the historic, once navigable canals that are now Milan’s most romantic setting — at Ecliss, transformed into a brand-new venue: an elegant "Cupid’s Garden", where guests were welcomed into a romantic, playful atmosphere.
Following on the great values of Italy depicted in Annie Leibovitz’ edition in 2009, and the theme of famous Italian songs interpreted by Miles Aldridge in 2010, it is Mark Seliger, the famous American celebrity photographer, who has been asked to immortalise the essence of Italianess. Seliger’s work has been displayed in museums and galleries all over the world, and he is best known for his creative shots that transform real life into art.
As with the previous editions, the creative direction of the 2011 Calendar was entrusted to the agency Armando Testa.
The topic of "Amore" — more specifically, falling in love in Italy, is one of those original, unusual themes that are challenging for a photographer but can also bring out his personality and style. Lavazza has once again chosen to talk about Italian style because, in Italy, as it says in the Calendar, "perhaps there’s something in the air that ignites passion. Or maybe it’s the beauty of the scenery and the architecture which naturally arouses that most noble of sentiments: love."
In the shots taken for 2011, Seliger captures the romantic, sensual mood of a lovers’ meeting: the symbolic, aesthetic beauty of falling in love in a country where everything is art — especially through the eyes of a couple in love, or a talented photographer.
Seliger portrays love in an immediate, playful way, experimenting with classic Italian landscapes, making humour an atmosphere that can be felt in every shot, through an immediate photographic style that is universally comprehensible.
Through his lens, Seliger reveals the secrets of that timeless image of Italy as the country of love, where beauty, art, nature and history influence and invade our consciousness, leading us almost inevitably towards feelings of love. Six different stories told in a humorous or surreal way, marked out by time: "six intimate moments involving him, her and coffee."
A Tuscan landscape, the high waters of Venice, Romeo and Juliet’s balcony, the Faraglioni of Capri, a magical Florentine garden, a love story in Naples, the perfect backdrop, adding rhythm and harmony to Seliger’s pictorial tale where the artistic suggestions blend with that quality so typical of an American photographer: a talent for using photographs to capture the mood, and in this case the sensuality, of a particular situation.
"Being a photographer is also about being able to stretch yourself, to make a situation credible, so you can show the connection between people," explains Mark Seliger. "It’s about making up a story and then telling it, you have to make it real. What made me fall in love with Italy was the ‘combination’ of people, there’s a certain quality of life that makes Italy truly unique."
Among the models portrayed in the 2011 Calendar, one couple stood out: the American actress Olivia Wilde and her husband, film director Tao Ruspoli, stars of the Capri picture.
"How can you not fall in love with Italy? I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with Italy after visiting it — comments the actress — whether because of the architecture, the people, or even just the food, it’s impossible not to love this country," she commented on set.
Olivia felt particularly at ease being photographed holding a cup of steaming coffee because, in her own words, "another reason why I love Italy is its coffee culture. Having married an Italian now I’m even more selective. On the set of Dr. House I asked for a little espresso machine. Initially, they made fun of me but I said to myself ‘they’ll thank me in the end!’. Now every member of the cast starts the day with one of my espressos."
Apart from that famous couple, the other models on the shoot were Bill Gentle, a funny Cupid who adorns the cover page and is also found on the last picture that concludes the “story” told by Seliger, while the six Calendar pictures feature the faces of Monica Castillo, Enrique Palacios, Noot Seear, Cedric Bihr, Liliana Dominguez, Alessandro Giallocosta, Violet Budd, Jeisa Chiminazzo and Ivan Olita.
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