Cap­tur­ing the spirit of Brazil

Pirelli used Brazil as the lo­ca­tion for the lat­est edi­tion of its ex­clu­sive cal­en­dar

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - MO­TOR NEWS RE­PORTER

THE 2013 Pirelli Cal­en­dar was pre­sented this week in Rio de Janeiro at the Pier Mauá ware­houses at the old port of the Ci­dade Mar­avil­hosa. The cre­ator of the 40th edi­tion of “The Cal’' is Steve McCurry, one of the world's most renowned pho­tog­ra­phers, who re­counts the re­cent so­cial and eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion of Brazil.

His work cel­e­brates the beauty and colours that rep­re­sent the soul of this mag­i­cal South Amer­i­can coun­try, which takes cen­tre stage in the Pirelli Cal­en­dar for the third time, fol­low­ing Pa­trick De­marche­lier’s 2005 edi­tion and Terry Richard­son’s in 2010.

In the two weeks it took to shoot the cal­en­dar on the streets and in the fave­las of Rio, McCurry made a fas­ci­nat­ing jour­neys of dis­cov­ery, cap­tur­ing sto­ries, ex­pe­ri­ences and traits of peo­ple and far­away lands. Next year’s cal­en­dar tells its tales through faces drawn in graf­fiti and in or­di­nary peo­ple, as well as through this year’s models, whose com­mon thread is a pow­er­ful com­mit­ment to foun­da­tions, hu­man­i­tar­ian projects and non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“I tried to por­tray Brazil, its land­scape, its econ­omy and its cul­ture, along with the hu­man el­e­ment,” said McCurry.

“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 such as Lapa and Santa Teresa, its fave­las, its bars and night­clubs, its mar­kets, dance cen­tres 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,” said McCurry. “I look for the moment of pas­sage, when the im­age re­veals a bit of ten­sion.”

McCurry en­tered into the spirit of Rio and opened him­self to its peo­ple, of­fer­ing up faces and moods. The cal­en­dar al­ter­nates por­traits of models and ac­tresses with pic­tures of or­di­nary peo­ple: a young boxer work­ing out, a fruit seller at the mar­ket, samba dancers, capoeira masters prac­tic­ing their art, a woman jog­ging, an art teacher, a tourist at a mu­seum, a sec­re­tary look­ing out a win­dow, lovers walking to­gether at sun­set. Th­ese scenes of or­di­nary and not so or­di­nary life re­count the evo­lu­tion of a na­tion that is chang­ing with­out los­ing its true na­ture and the traits that make it unique.

“I would say I am a street pho­tog­ra­pher do­ing ‘found situ- ations’. 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,” McCurry says.

There are 34 im­ages, bound to­gether in a col­lectible, lim­ited num­ber of cal­en­dar-books: 23 por­traits of ac­tresses and models, nine im­ages de­pict­ing daily life, and two pic­tures com­posed of graf­fiti and mu­rals. Th­ese are an evo­ca­tion of artis­tic ex­pres­sion that at­tracted McCurry’s at­ten­tion with their abil­ity to re­flect the so­cial as­pects he was in­ter­pret­ing, and be­came the back­ground in many pho­to­graphs.

The cal­en­dar features 11 models, ac­tresses and singers: Brazil­ians Is­abeli Fon­tana and Adri­ana Lima, ac­tress So­nia Braga and singer Marisa Monte; Ital­ianE­gyp­tian 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.

SLICE OF LIFE: Graf­fiti makes for an in­ter­est­ing pic­ture in the cal­en­dar, above. Many of the pic­tures de­pict or­di­nary peo­ple in Rio de Janeiro, be­low.

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