Normally Nude Pirelli Calendar Shoots Models With Clothes On For A Change

Pirelli Calendar 2013

Yeah, yeah we know, it’s already half way through 2013 and this was a big story in December 2012. But since we just saw a behind the scenes video of famed “Afghan Girl” photographer Steve McCurry shooting the 2013 Pirelli Calendar in Brazil last year, we wanted to share it because it is important.

Why? Because the Pirelli Tire Calendar is famous for having A) nothing to do with tires in its annual offering, and B) famous for shooting completely naked supermodels in exotic locations around the world. How this is supposed to sell tires for cars is something we will never wrap our heads around, but nonetheless it is an institution and everyone just accepts it. If we had been around longer than just 9 months, we would definitely have been making noise about the fact that women’s bodies have to be objectified to sell expensive pieces of rubber…

Well for 2013 the calendar peeps decided to shake things up a bit (did they get sick of seeing perfectly sculpted bodies?? Oh dear…) and go in a completely different direction.

To celebrate its 40th calendar, the Italian company decided to abandon the normal roster of fashion photographers such as Mario Testino and Terry Richardson and instead turned to one of the world’s most famous war photographers and sent him to Rio, host of the next football World Cup and Olympic Games.

They called upon the legendary Steve McCurry, whose work became legendary after National Geographic published his photo of a young girl in Afghanistan with stunning green eyes on their cover in 1985.

National Geographic cover

Ever since, he has traveled extensively around the world photographing people in war torn countries such as India, Afghanistan, China, Cambodia and more. So why did Pirelli choose him and not Mario Testino or Terry Richardson, as in previous years?

“Well, I certainly didn’t think of myself as an obvious choice,” McCurry tells the Guardian Newspaper in the UK. “I’m not a fashion photographer. But Pirelli said they wanted me to do it my way, in my style.”

“You can photograph nudes anywhere,” says McCurry. “But these models are clothed, and each of them has her own charity. They are purposeful and idealistic people. I wanted to photograph them in a special place, and Rio was perfect for that.”

Amongst some of the well-known faces in the shoot, he also included some local unknown women into the mix that fitted in perfectly with the urban, colorful and grime aesthetic of Brazil, the style McCurry is know for.

Steve McCurry - 2013 Pirelli calendar

Some of the supermodels include Karlie Kloss, Petra Nemcova, and a pregnant Adriana Lima. Since 2004, when Nemcova lost her fiancé in the tsunami which overwhelmed Thailand, she has run the Happy Hearts Fund, dedicated to assisting child victims of natural disasters. Kyleigh Kuhn, who graduated from Berkeley university in California, has founded a campaign dedicated to the funding of schools for Afghan girls. The calendar gives a meticulous account of each model’s campaigning activities.

2013 Pirelli Calendar photos

“I’ve tried to use my modelling as a platform from which to promote these projects, and this was the perfect situation.” says Kuhn.

According to Kloss, “the fact that the models are clothed helps take away attention from the women’s bodies and direct it to their causes”.

Petra Nemcova says in an interview to Fashion Channel “I think it’s so amazing that Pirelli has decided to provide this incredible platform for powerful women and their causes.”

To see an institution known for displaying naked women change its agenda this year to promote a country that is in the midst of turmoil and progression at the same time, shows change is in the air. The “social” agenda is more important and holds much more weight that the sexy agenda. While people may scoff or roll their eyes at the thought of models being known for charitable work, the fact is that if they are using their opportunities for good, why shouldn’t that be lauded?

Thank you Pirelli for giving us a calendar which inspires us to look longer and read deeper into these images, as opposed to just ogle, gawk and perve. To get to know the charity or cause each model is passionate about and involved in, watch the video below of the making of the calendar shoot.

Steve McCurry


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