Although his name is not instantly recognizable, Steve McCurry’s images are. One of the most eminent photographers in the world, McCurry creates timeless and evocative color photographs that leave the viewer mesmerized by whatever subject or scene he frames.

For over three decades, McCurry has traveled the globe with his camera firmly planted in his hand, patiently waiting for that perfect moment to press the button and release his shutter. In 1984, McCurry snuck into Pakistan during the Afghan/Soviet conflict and photographed Sharbat Gula, the Afghan Girl. It was this image that was featured on the cover of National Geographic in 1985 and became not only his most iconic, but also one of the most identifiable pictures ever taken.

McCurry has exhibited all over the world winning numerous accolades, and was even given the privilege of shooting Kodak’s last roll of Kodachrome film. He continues to travel nine months out of the year to fulfill his passion.

This year however, McCurry has moved away from war zones into possibly more dangerous waters, the world of fashion and the Pirelli Calendar. Pirelli tapped McCurry to shoot their 2013 Calendar as it had a humanitarian theme. Models showcased in the 2013 calendar from Isabeli Fontana to Petra Nemcova to Adriana Lima (the first pregnant woman to be featured in the calendar’s history) all work with humanitarian causes across the globe. 

Shot in Brazil, home to Pirelli’s largest market, McCurry took a different approach to photographing the calendar than his predecessors. He’s managed to avoid the typical clichés associated with the country, seamlessly integrating the essence of the location with the inner beauty of the women in front of his lens.

McCurry won’t be making a habit out of working on other large-scale shoots anytime soon. “This was the biggest production I’ve ever had to deal with. I usually work alone with maybe a local guide or translator.” He does however consider this calendar an achievement and something very special.  

Here’s a look at some of Steve McCurry’s personal favorites from his archive.  

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