It’s the world’s most famous calendar – coveted, exclusive and not for sale. And the 2013 edition is already making waves.
Normally the Pirelli Calendar features models in various stages of undress, but the chosen photographer elected to shoot the 2013 has elected to keep the clothes on.
Steve McCurry is well-known as a documentary photojournalist – famed for a 1984 National Geographic cover of a young Afghan woman – and for the Pirelli Calendar commission, he took the models to the streets of Brazil.
The calendar features Karlie Kloss, Summer Rayne, Isabeli Fontana, Hanaa Ben Abdesslem, Liya Kibede, Kyleigh Kuhn and a heavily pregnant Adriana Lima. And these are more than just pretty faces. Each model was selected because of their high-profile involvement with charities, and calendar information highlights the work the organisations do.
"I tried to portray Brazil, its landscape, its economy and its culture, along with the human element," McCurry says. "This was the story I wanted to tell through my lens. For me photography is an important expressive means to tell large and small stories of daily life."
“In the background, Rio is bustling with life, with its historic quarters like Lapa and Santa Teresa, its favelas, its bars and nightclubs, its markets, dance centers and gyms, its schools and bus stops. The city appears at its most authentic, very different from the usual stereotypes.
"I walked a lot through the streets, looking at all these moments of daily life and taking lots and lots of pictures. I look for the moment of passage, when the image reveals a bit of tension."
“I would say I am a street photographer doing ‘found situations’. You can photograph nudes anywhere. But these models are clothed, and each of them has her own charity. They are purposeful and idealistic people. So I wanted to photograph them in a special place, and Rio was perfect for this,”
The 2013 Pirelli Calendar comprises 34 images bound together in a calendar-book. It features 11 models, actresses and singers: Brazilians Isabeli Fontana (who appeared in Bruce Weber's 2003 Pirelli Calendar, in Patrick Demarchelier's 2005 edition, in Peter Beard's of 2009, in Karl Lagerfeld's of 2011 and in Mario Sorrenti's of 2012) and Adriana Lima (also in Patrick Demarchelier's 2005 edition), actress Sonia Braga and singer Marisa Monte; Italian-egyptian actress Elisa Sednaoui, Czech model Petra Nemcova, Tunisian model Hanaa Ben Abdesslem, Ethiopian model Liya Kebede, and American models Karlie Kloss, Kyleigh Kuhn and Summer Rayne Oakes.
Twenty thousand copies of the calendar will be printed – and less than 200 come to Australia – but none are for sale. They are all given to a secret list of VIPs as gifts. But of course one calendar is already listed on eBay for about $1000.
Previous photographers who have shot the Pirelli Calendar have included fashion guru Karl Lagerfeld, Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon.