Harri Peccinotti 



About the artist

He is often referred to as the Godfather - even the Pope (!) - of erotic photography. In truth, Harri Peccinotti is the man who, in the Sixties, influenced the genre with his graphic and modern vision, notably through English magazine Nova and Pirelli’s calendars. But there is so much more to Peccinotti’s work. He started his career in London at age 14 by illustrating jazz album covers, later working as art director for Rolling Stone, Vogue and the English Vanity Fair, before embarking on the decisive odyssey of Nova magazine in 1965. This is where he opened up his pages to what the mainstream press had never dared feature: black models, close-ups of bottoms, a report “at the heart” of childbirth… all with a very graphic, architectural layout. Harri is also a traveller; he went on assignment to Vietnam in 1968, and in the remotest areas of Indonesia, Africa and South America, to meet peoples who had sometimes never seen a white man before.
What drives Peccinotti’s work is his “graphic touch” and his genuine love of shapes, be they those of women, adobe houses in Mali or curly serifs in a font.


You were a graphic designer before becoming a photographer: how has this former activity influenced your photography?
Studying graphic design introduces you to all forms of communication: painting, film, magazine, advertising, typography, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Dada; all this gives you a graphic eye and a vision as to the final use of an image.

You were the creative spirit behind Nova in the Sixties: the magazine’s ambition was find a new way to talk to women. The Nova team was composed essentially of women: how did they take to representations of female nudity in the magazine?
The representation of nudity in Nova was not used as a selling point and only occurred to illustrate articles. The women writers on the magazine were mostly feminists, but were not against femininity, and certainly not threatened or against the sight of the female body, if it was not being exploited.

Female nudes depicted in women’s magazines today seldom express the kind of joyful sensuality featured in your work for Nova. Was it a sign of the times?
In the 60’s, photographing nudes was I believe better considered and leaning towards art.
There is probably more nudity and more explicit nudity in magazines today.
Sexual freedom is more acceptable, and photographs are more exaggerated in their sexuality.
In the 60’s, I was much closer to the age of the models, and there was a sexual awareness, but photographing a nude was a little like a life class (drawing nudes at art school). Even a nipple was an exception to be reproduced in a magazine. Now, I am sometimes old enough to be the models’ grandfather.

Do you think that retouching has in a way killed sensuality, by erasing all of the imperfections that make women - flesh - alive?

Digital photography relies on much postproduction and lots of retouching; it tends to encourage over-use, and sometimes an inability to know when to stop. It certainly can look cartoony.
You have played bass and trombone, designed jazz album covers, magazines, photographed Pirelli calendars, the most remote places on Earth… which of these experiences did you enjoy most?

Most of the things I have worked or played at have been very enjoyable, but having a passion for entomology, natural history, and ethnology, travelling to the tropics is always a thrill - and of course photographing women.

Limited edition, numbered and signed. 

Selected shows and awards

Peccinotti, Tethys Gallery, Florence, 2011
HP, Corso Como, Milan, 2008
Fashion in the Mirror, The Photographers' Gallery, London, 2008
Retrospective, Colette, Paris, 2002
Nigerian Culture, Nigerian Museum, Lagos, 1976
Cibachromes, The Photographers' Gallery, London, 1967

Selected publications

HP, Damiani, 2008
Nova 1965/1975, Peccinotti & David Hillman, Pavillion, 1993
The Soul of Indonesia, A Cultural Journey, Louisiana State University Press, 1985
Crafts and Arts of Living in the Cameroon, Louisiana State University Press, 1982
The Living Treasures of Japan, Wildwood House, 1973

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& order

Harri Peccinotti 


Technical information

Digital Lambda c-print on satin paper - limited edition, numbered and signed certificate.


33,5 x 50 cm, Edition of 100 250.00 €

By the same artist

Harri Peccinotti

By the same curator