Harry Peccinotti

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Harry Peccinotti (also known as Harri Peccinotti) was born in London 1935.[1] He Is revered as a photographer but has been an industry ‘multi tasker’ since he began his career during the 1950s as a commercial artist and musician. At this time he designed record sleeves for ‘Esquire’ Records and book jackets for “Penguin” and later became an art director and photographer in advertising.[2]

Peccinotti was one of a number of art directors at agencies such as Crawford’s and J Walter Thompson in the early sixties -London’s Mad Men, if you will- drawn to the publishing world as the decade began to gain momentum.[3]

In 1965 he was hired in what would become his defining position-the first Art director of Nova, fondly remembered today for it’s ground breaking design, typography, subject matter and photography. Inspired by the quality of the editorial, he art directed the magazine, while also taking still life’s and abstract compositions and expressing his vision as confidently with a camera as he did with a type face. . With no pressure to please advertisers and with total creative freedom given by his editor he was able to explore his graphic ideas, experimenting with double and triple exposures, exaggerated scale and sexual ambiguity.[4] It was also at Nova that Peccinotti became one of the first photographers to photograph and publish photos of black models [5] using them extensively in his fashion shoots.

“Nova started as an experiment.. The thinking behind it came from the fact that there were no magazines at the time for intelligent women. All the magazines treated women like they were drudges and housewives, and focused on subjects like cooking and knitting. But the women’s liberation movement was strong at the time and there were a lot of good female writers. Nova’s aim was to talk about what women were really interested in: politics, careers, health, sex. George Newnes, a large press company, threw some money in, just to see if anyone was interested in a magazine like that, and so it started.” [6]

He also art directed Flair, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone and Vogue. He quit art-directing to become a full-time photographer, still creating content for many of the same magazines. His list of regular magazine commissioners grew to include Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Town, Queen, and Rolling Stone. Peccinotti is also renowned for his collaborative design of French daily newspaper 'Le Matin', with David Hillman, and he achieved particular renown for his erotic imagery for two Pirelli calendars -1968 and 1969- with designer Derek Birdsall. The 1968 calendar, shot in Tunisia, pioneered non-traditional pin-up images, which focussed details such as a wisp of hair against the neck or a profile bathed in light. The imagery for the1969 calendar was shot in California without the use of professional models.[7]

The 1968 calendar was shot during a period where Peccinotti says that the mere hint of a nipple would prove problematic to publish.[8] Yet 50 years on Beady Eye, Oasis front man Liam Gallagher’s new band used a photo from the 68 calendar for the cover of their BE album only to have it censored in supermarkets and resorting to covering the offending nipple with a sticker.[9]

Peccinotti currently lives in Paris and continues to have his work in French Vogue, Russian Vogue, Gloss and 10 Magazine and has been revered by receiving a number of awards in England and America for both art direction and photography.[10]

His life's work is celebrated in the retrospective book "HP" by Harri Peccinotti.


  1. ^ Vogue Italia, http://www.vogue.it/en/people-are-talking-about/art-photo-design/2011/06/harri-peccinotti
  2. ^ "Show Studio" website, http://www.showstudio.com/contributors/447
  3. ^ West, Naomi. "Shock of the new". Telegraph magazine. 
  4. ^ "Professional Photographer" magazine "H.P. by Harry Peccinotti Book Review", 1 June 2009, http://www.professionalphotographer.co.uk/Legends/Profiles/H-P-by-Harry-Peccinotti
  5. ^ "Harri Peccinotti". Vice. 
  6. ^ "Dapper Dan". 
  7. ^ "Show Studio" website, http://www.showstudio.com/contributors/447
  8. ^ "Harri Peccinotti". vimeo. 
  9. ^ "Beady Eye's 'BE' album sleeve to be censored in supermarkets". NME. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Show Studio" website, http://www.showstudio.com/contributors/447