It may be winter in many parts of the world, but these firefighters aim to keep their fans warm. Every year, a group of handsome firefighters in Australia volunteer their time to pose with cats, dogs and other animals to create the Australian Firefighters Calendars. Funds raised by the annual photo calendars go to numerous charities that support animal welfare and rescue throughout the country.
The ongoing COVID pandemic posed a few challenges for this year’s calendar. Due to lock-downs, the organizers couldn’t work with the animal shelters like they have done in previous years. So for the 2022 calendar, the calendar organizers asked for pet parents of cats and dogs to enter their “fur babies” to take part in the photoshoot.
“We received over 5,000 photos of every type of animal you can imagine to take part in the photoshoot and they enter from all over world. We even had a lady from Moscow that wanted fly her cat to Australia,” said Crystal Doohan, Australian Firefighters Calendar Creative Director.
It took a month to go through all the photos of potential participants. But soon, they had lined up an array of animals to model with the attractive firefighters.
The calendar’s lead photographer, Brett Cunliffe, revealed that it’s not all “smooth sailing” when it comes to producing the wonderful images for each calendar. “The calendar fans only see the best of the firefighters and the animals behaving nicely together in the calendar photos and promotional videos,” said Cunliffe.
“Calendar fans would laugh at the number of bites, kicks and scratches the firefighters receive during the photoshoot,” he added. “There are times I consider if we shouldn’t have a full-time nurse on set, it can be like working in a zoo, it’s fantastic fun!”
For the 2022 editions there are many new faces. Ben Church is a firefighter from Western Australia that was selected to take part in the photoshoot.
“I wanted to do it for my Grandma and Mum, they were so proud that I was selected to take part in the photoshoot. They embarrassed the heck out of me by emailing the calendar co-ordinators advising them I was the most handsome firefighter in Western Australia and the guys have not stopped reminding me of that! Thanks Grandma and Mum,” Church laughed.
Another new face is Ricky Smith, a Brisbane based Firefighter.
“I received a phone call congratulating me that I had been selected for the 2022 Australian Firefighters Calendar, I thought to myself that I had never sent an application in? what is this guy talking about? I found out later that my girlfriend had done it without me knowing,” said Smith. “Before I knew it I was standing in front of seven members of the photography team. I was absolutely terrified, I have never even taken a selfie!”
With the 2022 editions now released, some of the benefactors are anticipating the funds will be put to good use. The Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital is one of many important native Australian hospitals that the calendar will support this year. Others include Native Animal Rescue, Healing Hooves, Wildcare Inc, Safe Haven Animal Rescue and Currumbin Wildlife Hospital.
To purchase any of the 2022 Australian Firefighters Calendars visit their website at www.australianfirefighterscalendar.com.