Pirelli tyres annual calendar is a bit of a revelation (but not in the way you might think)

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Fans of the notoriously racy Pirelli tyres calendar might be in a bit of a shock when they see the 2013 edition – apparently it has been stripped bare of nudity!

However, shot amidst the lush locations in and around the flamboyant city of Rio de Janeiro by photographer Steve McCurry, early reports are that it is still steamy, despite all the clothes.

Even clad in shorts or slip-dresses, the models are as stunning as ever whether they are striking catlike poses in hillside slums or pouting in samba nightclubs.

But the reason for change is not some pang of social conscience or a Mary Whitehouse-figure triumphing over the Italian tyre manufacturer, it is that McCurry, an American photojournalist and war photographer, would only take the assignment on condition he could do it his way.

“I was surprised because I don’t shoot much fashion,” McCurry told journalists at the launch of The Cal as it is affectionately known, at Rio’s stately old Copacabana Palace hotel. “But I do know about beautiful women.

“I thought ‘why don’t we find models who aren’t only gorgeous and beautiful but are also doing good things’,” said McCurry, who is best known for his photo of an Afghan refugee with piercing green eyes that appeared on the cover of National Geographic Magazine in 1984.

So instead of the usual suspects, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, etc, the models for this edition including the likes of Petra Nemcova, the Czech model who founded the Happy Hearts Fund in the wake of the 2004 tsunami to help children hit by natural disasters; American environmental crusader Summer Rayne Oakes and Brazilian actress and child rights advocate Sonia Braga.

McCurry suggested that shooting the 11 women fully clothed allows the viewer to see them as fully formed people, with ideas and initiatives and projects, as opposed to simply sex symbols.

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