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Models And Photographers Mark 50th Anniversary Of Pirelli Calendar

posted 22 Nov 2013, 10:34 by Mpelembe   [ updated 22 Nov 2013, 10:35 ]

Pirelli's celebrated calendar turns 50 this year and the company is marking the event by bringing together some of the most famous photographers and models who have posed for it over the years.

MILAN, ITALY (NOVEMBER 21, 2013) (REUTERS/PIRELLI HANDOUT) - Some of the world's most beautiful women and top name photographers were on hand on Thursday (November 21) as tyre company Pirelli marked the 50th anniversary of its iconic calendar.

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Several events, exhibitions and publications are being organised to celebrate the 50 years of the calendar which was first published in 1964.

Getting things started on Thursday was the presentation of the new 2014 version of the calendar inMilan.

Breaking away from past practises the company has not produced a new calendar but instead decided to release the unpublished 1986 Pirelli Calendar created by Helmut Newton.

Addressing an audience of top models, reporters and other guests, Pirelli chairman Marco Tronchetti Provera said the anniversary was an important one for the company.

"Today is very special for Pirelli, it is special because we are marking 50 years of tradition, 50 years of history of our company during which there was an interruption due to the ten years of oil crisis and therefore altogether we've produced 40 calendars," he said.

Thirty-one world-famous photographers, among them four women, have created the 40 calendars over the years. Seventeen of the calendars were shot in Europe, ten in the United States, four in theCaribbean, five in Africa, three in Brazil and one in China. There are nine black-and-white and 25 colour editions, the other six are mixed.

Model Carmen Kass who appeared in the 2001 calendar shot in NaplesItaly by Mario Testinodescribed the experience as a unique one.

The Estonian beauty said she believed the calendar's strength lies in something much deeper than its superficial image.

"If you saw all the 50 years, the work they have done, I think it doesn't only emphasise the beauty of the woman or the sex appeal of the woman and also not only about the genius of the artist, the photographers and art directors that have been part of it but I think a very, very important aspect about of it is that it somehow shows the motion through the time, that our society has envisioned and seen women through the time and I think that makes it very very special," she said.

Italian model Bianca Balti, photographed by Karl Lagerfeld in Paris for the 2011 edition described posing for the calendar as a career boost.

"For the career of a model it is really one of the coolest things you can do because it is not just fashion and sometimes they've used non-models and actors and it really makes you feel that it is something more than just posing in any fashion magazine," she said.

The current 2013 edition of the calendar was created by famed American photojournalist Steve McCurry, best known for his photograph the "Afghan Girl" which originally appeared in the National Geographic magazine.

Speaking to Reuters following the news conference, McCurry said he'd seen the calendar shoot as an opportunity to highlight a different side of the models.

"For me it was a way to show these incredible models who are making the world a better place, whether in education, environmental concerns and it was a great opportunity to show these women in the best possible way," he said.

Conditions during the shoot in Rio de Janeiro weren't always ideal and lent to some unforgettable experiences, McCurry said.

"I think the most interesting, the most funny situation I had was we were photographing in a pouring rain, it was absolutely pouring and we had to shoot. We had this incredible model and we actually did the whole shoot in the pouring rain, we had an umbrella and it was just an impossible situation but the rain became more atmospheric, it was a kind of dramatic sense to the whole picture but everything was wet, the model was wet, I was wet, the camera was wet, everything was wet, it was crazy," he said.

A starry gala dinner will be held in Milan later on Thursday evening to officially mark the Pirelli Calendar's beautiful half a century.