Dale Abbey calendar photographer snaps up national award

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A Dale Abbey photographer has snapped up a national award for his 2016 calendar, beating big names to complete a story of career redemption.

Paul Harvey’s Looking Forward to the Past was named best bespoke calendar at the National Calendar Awards, hosted by Eamonn Holmes in London last week.

In doing so, it beat the famous Pirelli calendar into second place and won recognition for a collection of images that had been hidden away for decades.

Paul, 59, has been working at the highest levels of fashion and advertising since the 1970s, working through the heyday of big budget corporate calendars.

But his pioneering approach to the art put him at odds with some more old-fashioned calendar conventions.

Paul claims to be the first to use fashion models rather than pneumatic page three girls, on what had up until then been archetypal glamour calendars.

He said: “It took me months to persuade the top fashion agencies to even talk about it, let alone allow me to book their models. There was huge suspicion.”

“In this calendar alone there are at least three examples where my attempts to move things forward ultimately cost me a client and threatened my reputation.”

The award-winning calendar is a nod to this change of style, cultural norms and corporate largesse in a male-dominated pre-recession era.

One such image, revealed now for the first time, featured a model swimming in the Amazon with a leopard, taken for Lambs Navy Rum who scrapped the images for fear of alienating customers.

Paul said: “Ironically, back then the shot was considered too risky to publish because by the standards of the day, it was nowhere near risqué enough.”

The 13 photos in the calendar are taken from photo shoots with an estimated total budget of over £1 million. The products Paul’s work promoted included rum, car parts, air travel, pallets, armaments and electricity. Often there was no mention of the products themselves, and days and dates were an afterthought.

Today, the shots have become priceless, with the calendar produced as a special edition, limited to 250 copies by publisher Eight Days A Week and Paul’s company Icarus Media, as a gift to major industry figures. Perhaps Paul’s style will suit your office in 2017.