While Pirelli might be in the business of making excellent tires, mention the name to most people and they'll like talk about the calendar first.
First produced in 1964, the Pirelli calendar has taken on its own energy and has become a giant promotional device for the Italian company. Exotic locations, famous models, legendary photographers: the calendar encompasses art and passion and often titillation.
The 2013 Pirelli Calendar was shot by world renowned photographer, Steve McCurry. It's a study of the recent social and economic transformation of Brazil, a country Pirelli has been associated with since 1929 and is home to five of the company's tire plants.
"The Cal" was presented today in Rio de Janeiro at Pier Maua, a group of warehouses in the port of the Cidade Maravilhosa. McCurry's work celebrates the beauty and color that represent this South American country, and which is appearing for the third time in the Pirelli Calendar, following Patrick Demarchelier's 2005 edition and Terry Richardson's in 2010. It took two weeks to shoot the calendar on the streets and favelas of Rio, and it tells a tale through graffiti and ordinary people of Brazil, as well as this year's models.
The models were all chosen for their commitment to foundations, humanitarian projects and non-governmental organizations. They include 11 models, actresses and singers: Brazilians Isabeli Fontana (who also appeared in Bruce Weber's 2003 Pirelli Calendar, Patrick Demarchelier's 2005 edition, Peter Beard's 2009, Karl Lagerfeld's 2011 and Mario Sorrenti's 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.
The calendar alternates portraits of models with photos of ordinary people: such as a young boxer working out, a fruit seller, samba dancers, a jogger, an art teacher and lovers walking together at sunset.
"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," said McCurry.
There are 34 images in the 2013 Pirelli Calendar, bound together in a calendar-book: 23 portraits of actresses and models, nine images depicting pieces of daily life, and two composed of graffiti and murals.
PIRELLI IN BRAZIL
Brazil is of crucial importance to Pirelli and it has operated there since 1929. The country is the largest car and truck market in South America and one of the biggest in the world. As a result, many car and motorcycles are manufactured there. As a result, Pirelli has Five tire plants in Brazil (Feira de Santana in the north, Santo Andre, Sumare and Campinas in the state of San Paolo, Gravatai in the south). There are an additional two plants in South America (Venezuela, near Caracas, and one in Argentina, near Buenos Aires), which comprise Pirelli's 22 facilities around the world.
Pirelli's South American headquarters are in San Paolo but its plant at Santo Andre, which became a part of the group 83 years ago and is dedicated to the production of industrial and agricultural tires, contributes 34% of the group's total sales, over 5.6 billion euros in 2011. It also houses the Sumare test track and is home to many of Pirellis 11000 employees in Brazil, with about 14000 in South America overall.
PIRELLI CALENDAR PHOTOGRAPHERS & LOCATIONS
1964 Robert Freeman in Maiorca
1965 Brian Duffy in the south of France
1966 Peter Knapp in Al Hoceima, Marocco
1967 No publication
1968 Harry Peccinotti in Tunisia
1969 Harry Peccinotti in Big Sur, California
1970 Francis Giacobetti in Paradise Island, Bahamas
1971 Francis Giacobetti in Giamaica
1972 Sarah Moon in Villa Les Tilleuls, Paris
1973 Allen Jones in London
1974 Hans Feurer at the Seychelles islands
1975-1983 No publication
1984 Uwe Ommer in Bahamas
1985 Norman Parkinson in Edinburgh
1986 Bert Stern in the Cotswolds, England
1987 Terence Donovan in Bath, England
1988 Barry Lategan in London
1989 Joyce Tennyson in the Polaroid Studios, New York
1990 Arthur Elgort in Seville, Spain
1991 Clive Arrowsmith in France
1992 Clive Arrowsmith in Almeria, Spain
1993 John Claridge at Seychelles
1994 Herb Ritts in Paradise Island, Bahamas
1995 Richard Avedon in New York City
1996 Peter Lindbergh in El Mirage, California
1997 Richard Avedon in New York City
1998 Bruce Weber in Miami
1999 Herb Ritts in Los Angeles
2000 Annie Leibovitz in Rhinebeck, New York
2001 Mario Testino in Naples
2002 Peter Lindbergh in Los Angeles
2003 Bruce Weber in Southern Italy
2004 Nick Knight in London
2005 Patrick Demarchelier in Rio de Janeiro
2006 Mert and Marcus in Cap d'Antibes, France
2007 Inez and Vinoodh in California
2008 Patrick Demarchelier in Shanghai, China
2009 Peter Beard ad Abu Camp/Jack's Camp, Botswana
2010 Terry Richardson in Brazil
2011 Karl Lagerfeld in Parigi
2012 Mario Sorrenti in Murtoli, Corsica
2013 Steve McCurry in Rio de Janeiro