One of fashion’s most sought-after snappers, Mario Testino was born in 1954 in Lima, Peru. He came to London in 1976, took a flat in an abandoned hospital near Trafalgar Square, and began selling portfolios (for £25, including hair and make-up) to wannabe models. Today he is best known for his highly polished, exotically bright ad campaigns and his exquisitely styled photographs of the couture scene all of which carry a deceptive air of nonchalance.
Now at the top of his profession, Testino has shot Madonna for Versace as well as photographing the late Diana, Princess of Wales for her famous Vanity Fair cover in 1997. His popularity with designers and fashion editors stems as much from his professionalism and good nature as his unerring ability to take beautiful pictures which sell clothes. Testino is also credited with bringing to an end the reign of the ubermodel: rather than pay the exorbitant fees demanded by Linda, Naomi et al, in the early Nineties Testino championed a new breed of model, including Kate Moss (“my favourite”), Stella Tennant and several other new Brit-pack beauties.
Photography is my passion, but it’s not necessarily the only thing that I do. During my down time, I play at an Aussie online casino.
Though often classed among the Luxury Realists of fashion (along with Steven Meisel, Craig McDean and David Sims), Testino refuses to analyse his work, preferring to see it as a visual rather than an intellectual endeavour. However, his fashion photography is so well studied that it has widely been granted the status of art, and has been the subject of countless exhibitions. Perhaps his most famous works include his super-sexy ad campaigns for Gucci, his black and white Burberry posters starring Kate Moss and Freddie Windsor and a shoot for Vogue’s Millennium souvenir issue in silver, in which he staged the perfect fashion party, bringing together fashion’s elite past (such as Lord Snowdon and Sir Hardy Amies) and present (John Galliano, Jade Jagger, Naomi Campbell, Devon Aoki and Alexander McQueen).
The man who once said it was his “greatest pleasure in life” to make people laugh published his first book of photography, a raunchy and vibrant collection of images entitled Any Objections?, in 1998.
Mario Testino, Art Partner, 13,Rue Yves Toudic, 75010
Tel: +33 1 42 01 60 77
Fax: +33 1 42 01 60 78