Mario Testino, the world’s best-known fashion photographer, talks about the secret of his success, and his latest exhibitions, supported by Swarovski.
I feel like a doctor who goes to the operating theater with 30 years of experience.
Is Mario Testino ever not working? A flick through this month’s glossy magazines reveals pages and pages of his photographs, as well as advertising campaigns for, among others, Burberry, Etro, Michael Kors, Stuart Weitzman, Chanel Beauty and Lancôme. But the shoots for which he is famous are just part of his enormous output.
It is his knack of combining sex with glamour and naturalism that makes him so popular with his photographic subjects, whether they are Hollywood movie stars or British princesses. ‘These days,’ he says, ‘I feel like a doctor who goes to the operating theater with 30 years of experience. Now I feel I can use all the instruments of the past to get the most interesting photograph.’
His latest big project is the foundation he has set up and funded in the city of his birth. MATE (Asociación Mario Testino), is a not-for-profit exhibition space and cultural centre. ‘I set it up after the success of my Portraits exhibition at the Lima Art Museum two years ago,’ he says. ‘The queues to see it made me realize my work should live in my country, and I wanted to help other artists there.’
Testino’s photographs are part of the British Royal Portraits exhibition, supported by Swarovski, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston until June.
Daisy Garnett writes for The Times, The Telegraph, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.