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Beauty of intellect. A calendar with girls reading on the subway was presented in St. Petersburg


Dedicating a new calendar to a good habit. Girls reading books on its pages prove – there’s nothing more beautiful than intellect. Author of the project – student from the Northern Capital Tatyana Panteleeva – says that selection of books was extensive. Alexander Odintsov reports on how this idea came into fruition.


One reads Nabokov on the subway, another reads Dostoevsky, Minaev, Zweig, Maupassant, Andreev. 12 months, books, girls. Someone reading a book on the subway has been something of a figurative thing for long. Young women of St. Petersburg dedicated their calendar to this good habit. The pictures show a certain short-list – best books read by the models in 2015.

Those representing January, March and September took no time to get adjusted to their roles. It’s almost in their everyday habit – wait for a train, while delving into the plot intricacies of a favorite book. None of these girls are professional models, but it took around 15 minutes of work with each one of them. Although, some good shots had to be retaken.

Anastasiya Tschaikovskaya, resident of St. Petersburg: “It was very noisy; it put me off a little. I had to display a concentrated look on my face. It didn’t quite work out; there were too many distracting factors around. We have a huge mass of information, so much we sometimes forget about literature. Such calendars will remind us of the necessity to read”

All shots were made by a professional photographer. But he had no time to set up lights and rearrange decorations. All filming had to be done at peak hours – when even hassling passengers are tight on space.

Dmitriy Stelmakh, photographer: “At some points she set on a bench. Someone else would definitely sit there too. Some would get up and start looking at us. That’s a bit funny surely. We had to wait or ask people to step aside, as well as keeping a close eyes on our gear bags”

It only took one day from the idea to the end product. The seemingly impossible plan was realized just before New Year – got a crew together, filmed it, post-processed the shots and printed. The ideologist of the project – 21-year-old student Tatyana – issued a rallying call to her friends. She says she had no thoughts whatsoever to replicate the famous Pirelli calendar – or any others with models wearing see-through clothes. The concept was born when she was in an elevator, grasping Peter Høeg’s new book, and saw her own reflection in the mirror. The manifest of the reading St. Petersburg’s girls – “There’s nothing more beautiful than intellect”

Tatyana Panteleeva, author of the project: “It’s a year-ender, so I thought it would be nice of girls recommended some books to read in the coming year. That’s why the selection of books was broad – urbanistic and fine literature. I think it’s very pretty – when a person is holding a book, regardless if it’s a paperback or an electronic one”

Participants of the project agree – reading on a subway is like a ritual of its own. The one which cannot be interrupted too. The only downside to it – is that you’d have to get off the train at some point eventually.

Alexander Odintsov, reporter: “These girls may seem like experts in philology – at least that’s how they look on this calendar’s pages – but they also applied some natural sciences during the filming. They estimated how many books they read on the subway. Something like this – from “Mezdunarodnaya” to “Ploshad Vosstaniya”, they manage to read 5 chapters in a book, on average. Which means – a full book can be read in a week’s time. That’s about 50 books a year”

Only 50 copies of the calendar have been printed. Authors say they will continue popularizing good habits. Again – putting ordinary residents into their camera’s scope.