Italian photographer wants Irish men of the cloth to pose
An Italian photographer is looking for Irish priests to pose for his best-selling calendar.
Since 2003, Calendario Romano has featured brooding images of men of the cloth.
"Up until now I've never had any Irish priests in Calendario Romano because I've never met any. But for my 2011 calendar I want to change that, so I'm calling for Irish priests who would like to appear in Calendario Romano to please contact me," said Venice-based Piero Pazzi.
However, the only catch is that any Irish clergymen who agree to pose will have to travel to Rome to have their picture taken, as all portraits in Calendario Romano are shot against the backdrop of cathedrals and monuments in the Eternal City.
"The calendar is really about promoting Rome as a tourist destination, that's why we shoot it here. However, many Irish priests visit Rome and all they would have to give me is some advance notice and I could arrange a photo-shoot," he said.
The 47-year-old photographer claimed all the men featured in the 2010 calendar are genuine priests but could not supply their names.
"I stop them on the streets during Holy Week and ask can I take their picture. I don't know their names or their individual backgrounds but when I tell the priests the purpose of my calendar, they pose willingly." But any Irish clerics hoping to be pin ups for January or February next year should be warned: Calendario Romano is not approved by the Catholic Church.
And with the 2010 calendar selling over 90,000 copies, it seems, like Daniel O'Donnell albums, the majority of the sales come from older women.
"The priests are young and good looking, but that doesn't make them sex symbols. That depends on the imagination of the viewers," said Mr Pazzi.
"I used priests because it means the calendar can be displayed anywhere, at home or at the office."
Shooting for the 2011 calendar will be completed next month and any Irish priests who wish to take part should email Mr Pazzi at firstname.lastname@example.org.