Every year the world's most pre-publicised and eagerly anticipated calendar is that of Pirelli - not only because the images are of beautiful, naked and frequently famous women but also because of the artists who create the images.
SEA MAIDEN: Saskia de Brauw.
The 2012 Pirelli Calendar was today (December 7, 2011) previewed in New York by the world's media, international guests and collectors at “The Armory”, a 19th-century New York City military landmark.
This the 39th issue of 'The Cal' is the work of Mario Sorrenti, the first Italian photographer in the history of a calendar that has become a cult. Neapolitan by birth and New Yorker by adoption, Sorrenti chose the island of Corsica and its rugged landscape to create his "Swoon": ecstasy captured by images.
Sorrenti explained: "The intense relationship between a photographer and his Muse is the very essence of the creation of a strong aesthetic dialogue which leads to the sublimation of natural beauty. In making 'The Cal', I approached the subjects of my pictures by building a straightforward, intimate and real relationship which made it possible for me to instill the images with purity.
"In 'Swoon', I put the bodies in direct contact with nature, which harbours them as if they were its extension, in a set of images where rocks, land, tree trunks, sky and sea are all turned into a backdrop for the bodies."
The 25 pictures of the 2012 "Calendario Pirelli", 18 black-and-white and seven colour, will be presented in a refined, canvas-lined portfolio, a format never before used.
LAID OUT ON THE LAVA: Edita Vilkeviciute.
The 2012 calendar features 12 women, nine models and three actresses, including Brazilian Isabeli Fontana (2003 Cal by Bruce Weber, 2005 by Patrick Demarchelier, 2009 by Peter Beard and 2011 by Karl Lagerfeld); Russian Natasha Poly (2011 Pirelli Cal by Karl Lagerfeld); Hollanders Saskia de Brauw and Lara Stone (2009 Cal by Peter Beard and 2011 by Karl Lagerfeld), Americans Joan Small and Guinevere Van Seenus (2006 Cal by Mert and Marcus), PPole Malgosia (2009 Cal by Peter Beard); Lithuanian Edita Vilkeviciute; and Briton Kate Moss (1994 Calby Herb Ritts and 2006 by Mert and Marcus).
The actresses are Ukrainian Milla Jovovich (1998 Cal by Bruce Weber); Italian Margareth Madè; and Japanese Rinko Kikuchi.
Mario Sorrenti had this to say about his "Twenty-five moments captured for Pirelli: "The nude figure is one of the most beautiful expressions of Nature and the purest way for us to reveal our humanity in the face of art.
"Being born in Naples, Italy, I was influenced at a young age by the great artworks of the Renaissance and their struggle to express their vision of beauty in art. This today plays a fundamental role in my image-making.
BACK TO THE WALL: Kate Moss.
"The images in the Calendar are the culmination of my creative energy, trying to materialise the emotion shared by me and the subject, respecting their beauty, their nature and our integral presence in the universe."
And the meaning of 'Swoon', the title for this collection of images? To become enraptured by; to be overwhelmed by joy; to faint in ecstasy; a feeling of being in love and within ease. This is the title for this collection of images.
TO THE WOODS: Margareth Made (left) and Natasha Polu.