Steve McCurry shooting the 2013 Pirelli calendar with Nikon (and Hasselblad) cameras

Steve McCurry (bibliography) shot the 2013 Pirelli calendar with Nikon (and Hasselblad) cameras. The big surprise this year was that the models are actually wearing clothes:

This year’s Pirelli photographer, Steve McCurry, reunited with Starr and models Kuhn, Nemcova, and Summer Rayne Oakes at McCurry’s studio in Long Island City a few weeks ago to look at a version of the calendar. McCurry is known for his photographs of impoverished, war-torn countries; his most famous image, Afghan Girl, became iconic when it appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985. Although the Pirelli assignment wasn’t his first time working with fashion models (“I did a couple of shoots in Italy, years ago"), it’s a far cry from the raw photojournalism he’s built his career on.

“When I told the models there would be no nudity, some of them were disappointed,” laughs casting director Jennifer Starr, who has worked with Pirelli on the calendar for seventeen years. Petra Nemcova was one of them: “I found out only a week before that it wasn’t nude,” she said.

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  • Stifledgenius

    Is he only using LED lights for this shoot? It turned out amazing. The lights seemed so far away, I wonder what ISO he was at.

    • Eskimo Nikonian

      He does use flash later in the video, and natural light in some of the photos. He does whatever works best … a real pro!

  • Eskimo Nikonian

    Just goes to show the pros don’t necessarily use the latest and greatest. I was surprised to see him still using a D3x (versus a D800 or D4). But I was gobsmacked to see him rocking a D2xs later in the video. The man knows how to get the best results without having to buy (or be given) the newest camera bodies. His 24-70mm was pretty beat up … a working photographer if there ever was one.

    • Micah Goldstein

      The D2x is an excellent workhorse.

      After a year with a D7000 as a backup, I regressed to a D300. It just focuses without hassle, and my raw presets are already well tuned to iron out the minor differences in high ISO noise. Not a lot of difference really. Except that my shots are in focus now!

      The 11 point in my old D2x was far more reliable than the 39 point in the D7000.

      • O.

        Yes, the D2x is a wonderful camera and I regret selling mine. I never got warm with the DX format, but at low iso its sheer sharpness is still brutal.

        And yes, the 11 point AF was a joy to use and did everything the 51 points in my D3 can do.

    • kileak
      • umeshrw

        All nikon camera models maybe. If so may be nikon is sort of in collabaration. But for wider or more important shots he is using a blad.

  • Neopulse

    All I can say is that he is one truly, lucky son of a bitch having the chance to do this.

    • Micah Goldstein

      Not luck–skill.

      • Neopulse

        I agree completely. Just that he’s a well-known photojournalist and he was asked to do this which is quite a surprise. But in the end the photos look ridiculously amazing.

  • This man is a real Master!

  • The man’s a legend. He can do it all.

  • jsilva200022

    It is a great video. The photos are awesome.

  • Jon

    well, well… fashion photography is not the most difficult to do… don’t be fooled by the glamour of the models 😉

    • steve

      Nah, I would hae to disagree with you on that. As a fashion photographer, you have even more things to worry about then just lighting and composition. Of course, when you have a full production team, it makes things easier, but working your way up to that level is pretty damn hard.

    • DafOwen

      But this isn’t fashion photography to me.

  • miso

    first video 3:12, what kind of lent it was?

    • miso

      sorry typo.. lent – lens

      • Michael Choong

        I think is 24-70 2.8, with a sticker saying: God’s in his heaven

        • miso

          thought the same, but i see it silver (ring, text) instead of gold, strange

  • Michael Choong

    very special way to operate a DSLR^^

  • alvix

    ..he uses even canon (or he has one for marketing purpose of the video..) ..@ 4:57 ..

    • James

      oh no it´s typical canon stunt , just trying to sneak in from behind 🙂

  • krr

    from the few pics i’ve seen i can say i am impressed!

  • DafOwen

    Unusual direction and choice of photographer for the Pirelli calendar – but loving the results. More beauty than glamour.

  • Tina Cleary

    Brilliant video. Great to see this man at work.

  • Amazing! That goes to show that the eye and technique of a master is not gonna be replaced by a new camera. To all the schmucks out there that post shitty pictures taken with the latest and greatest technologies and brag about it!

  • nicks

    Isn’t it a strange way to hold a camera?

    • kazziz

      isn’t he left-handed?

  • peterw

    beautifull results, video, and choice and treatement of the models. thanks for sharing something really photographic over here 😉

  • Petia

    First video, at 0:53, he shoots holding his camera the usual way. It seems he changes posture (up to apparently awkward ones, see 3:12) according to some imperative known only to himself — would be interesting to chat with him about technique!

  • Angel

    Steve Mccurry is my favorite portrait Photographer

  • Funduro


  • Paolo

    Anyone able to tell me what are the LED lights he’s using please?

  • Gene Whitman

    Using a Hasselblad allows McCurry the luxury of staying with a D200 2x. Dont get me wrong. McCurry is obviously a top level fotog’er. Is the cameraused in each Pirelli calender foto noted?

  • Gene Whitman

    The lighting is more important than the camera, within reason.

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