~Steve Hlavac, photographer
"I love, I love, I love my calendar girl..." ~Neil Sedaka, singer/songwriter
I have always loved calendars. Big calendars. Small calendars. Tiny ones you can stash in your wallet. Beautiful giant ones that take up a large chunk of real estate on your wall. Single page calendars that show the entire year. Double-page flip calendars that unveil something new each month. Boring, no-nonsense ones with only a grid of numbers to guide us. Naughty ones with scantily-clad pinup girls we only get a glimpse of at the back of an auto mechanic's garage.
It may sound silly, but I even have fond memories from my childhood involving calendars in our house. When I was growing up, many businesses would distribute free calendars each year, and it was fun seeing which ones my parents would get and keep, eventually picking one that would be placed in a prominent spot in our kitchen for us all of us to use.
Would it be the local bank? Or maybe the pharmacy? A stationary store? Perhaps an insurance company? Even Grumman Aerospace, where my dad worked on Long Island, gave out calendars from time to time.
Once the crucial decision was made, the chosen calendar assumed a place of pride in our home and became an honorary member of our family for the next year. It witnessed and documented many important moments in our lives: birthdays, holidays, vacations, school events, doctor appointments, visits from relatives, and eventually, my own travel plans to and from college.
Without question, the greatest thing about calendars, especially larger wall calendars, is the artwork. Whether you enjoy a single image the entire year, or a different picture each month (or even each day), the themes and variety of what is available is staggering. Calendar artwork can be extremely personal, absolutely arbitrary, or anything in between.
In any event, a calendar becomes, by default, a part of our home's decoration, and while on the surface they seem rather ordinary and mundane, it's cool to think they are important objects we look at nearly every day of our lives.
My 2016 Calendar Designs
With this in mind, I'm very pleased and proud to have four 2016 calendar titles available for purchase in my Zazzle store, representing four distinct collections of photographs that I've exhibited and sold in past years. Each has a personality of its own, and showcases, not only a time period in my career as an artist, but also a unique aspect of my vision, and the way I've used different graphic styles to interpet what I see and photograph.
When it comes to calendars, I'm old school enough to feel that there should be a unifying theme as well as a flow to the images, certainly something that ties them together more than just "Some Photos by Blah Blah Blah". And so, actually deciding, not only on the final selection of photographs, but their order - especially considering there will be vertical as well as horizontal formats - takes some time and effort.
In that sense, I have to put on the hat of an Art Director. Which is always fun...
An added bonus to having finished, themed calendars is that they nicely capsulize what my original gallery shows were all about. They serve as a very slick sales brochure for the actual pieces of art, or a great, inexpensive alternative for someone who finds they can't or do not want to purchase my work.
In this Digital Age - an era of connected devices where it seems like nearly everyone is doing and documenting everything electronically - just the task of creating and trying to market hard copy calendars can seem a bit daunting. But trust me, there are still a large number of loyal traditional wall calendar fans out there. The challenge is to reach them.
Perhaps there's a small part of some of us that still wants to hang on to the past: to enjoy the tactile experience of looking at memorable images on real paper, scribbling notes and crossing through numbers with a pen on a wall, flipping dated pages to glance ahead in time and ponder what the future holds.
Believe me, it's the gift that keeps on giving. And I thank you.
Moving forward, I realize I have an assortment of other photo projects that would make very good calendars as well, but alas, there are only so many hours in a day, and calendar season - the actual window to market and have people buy their calendars - is relatively short. So, additional ideas and themes will have to wait until next year.
Come to think of it, I must make it a point to write that on my calendar, so I won't forget. My 2016 South Beach Tropical Art Deco Calendar, of course...
As always, your comments and suggestions are more than welcome!