As much as the annual Pirelli Calendar is anticipated for the featured talent, it gives equal billing to the photographer calling the shots.
The 2024 edition is being crafted by the self-taught Ghanese photographer Prince Gyasi. The Gen Zer sees himself as a visual artist and like millions of his peers, he started taking photos more freely once he got an iPhone at the age of 16. Prior to that, he first started out using a disposable camera as a child.
The lensman, whose given name is Prince Gyasi Nyantakyi but is known as Prince Gyasi, was not available for interviews. His manager Tony Tagoe declined Tuesday to discuss any of the photographer’s future projects at this time. His work can be seen at the Maât Gallery in Paris.
The 28-year-old is part of Africa’s next wave of creative forces. His community-centered shots are meant to be a counter-narrative to dominant Western notions of Africa, according to Pirelli. Dating back to 1964, “The Cal,” as many call it, has featured the work of Peter Beard, Sarah Moon, Arthur Elgort, Robert Freeman, Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber and Peter Lindbergh, among other standouts.
In recent years, a broader mix of people of different ethnicities, gender identities and body types have been recruited to appear in the calendar. The 2023 calendar chose to highlight the professional and activist achievements of models Karlie Kloss, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski. Before the #MeToo movement, the Pirelli Calendar could rival Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in terms of raciness.
Egalitarian in his tastes, the lensman has worked on projects for Apple, Converse and Balmain. among others. A quick scroll of his Instagram highlights his preference for beyond bold colors. Known to digitally manipulate his images to magnify those shades, Prince Gyasi creates images that cause some to wonder if they are paintings. That made-you-look-twice mentality is intentional in jest, as some people don’t rate photography as a fine art.
He has spoken publicly about having synesthesia, a neurological condition that leads to experiencing colors in multisensory ways. The name is derivative of the Greek meaning “to perceive together” — people with synesthesia can experience color through hearing, smell, taste or pain. Others associate digits, letters or words with color. For Prince Gyasi, Wednesday means aquamarine, according to pre-release press material.
Although he has worked with top models like Naomi Campbell, Prince Gyasi has enlisted street children in his hometown of Jamestown as models for his work. His nonprofit Boxed Kids offers impoverished children in his area an educational and creative outlet.
His vibrant images can also be found in such contemporary art collections as Jean Pigozzi’s and the Pinault Foundation. Last year, he had a solo show at the Kyotographie photography festival in Kyoto, Japan, and took part in group shows at the Museo de Arte do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, as well as one at the Pole of Contemporary Art of Cannes.