Mario Testino

Mario Testino was born in Lima, where he then completed his studies. He graduated and moved to London in 1976 with the idea of pursuing a career in photography.

His work was first discovered by Madonna who called him directly to offer him a Versace ad campaign that was originally programmed for Richard Avedon. Gianni Versace loved the content of the shoot and decided to publish the pictures under the words “Versace presents: Madonna by Testino”. Vogue Magazine and Vanity Fair published the ads and Testino became the new “it-photographer”.

His work was then featured in magazines across the globe working for Vogue Magazine, Vanity Fair and V Magazine and for many high profile brands including BurberryGucci, Versace, Calvin KleinDolce & GabbanaSalvatore Ferragamo, Estee Lauder, Hugo Boss, Miu Miu, Shiseido and Michael Kors, amongst many others.

“I am obsessed with people and how to make them look their best.”

He is famous for his portraits of a laughing Lady Diana and is? with the help of Tom Ford and Catherine de Roitfeld, the creator of the new “porno chic” movement.

Tired of paying excessive amounts of money for a few poses, he decided to scout new faces and discovered the yet-to-be supermodels Kate MossGisele Bunchden aned Catherine McNeil.

In 2002 The National Portrait Gallery in London staged the exhibition “Portraits by Mario Testino” that to date remains their most successful exhibit. The exhibition toured to Milan, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Tokyo, Mexico and Lima.

Testino has been awarded many prizes for his work amongst which a Doctor Emeritus from the University of the Arts, London, the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award, the Medalha Tiradentes from the city of Rio de Janerio, Brazil and the Order of Merit from the city of Lima, Peru.

He also received many royal commissions including The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Prince Harry, Diana Princess of Wales, The Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Prince Willem-Alexander and Maxima of the Netherlands, Prince Haakon Magnus and Princess Mette-Marit of Norway and Her Majesty Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan.

Testino has worked for many charitable causes including the “Elton John Aids Foundation”, “Aid for Aids” for which he received the Hero Award in 2008, “Life Ball”, “Sargent Cancer Care”, “the Naked Heart Foundation”, “AmfAR” and “Women to Women”, amongst many others. He was the first man to received the Commitment Award from the latter.

In total he published nine books of his work and had many exhibitions organized all around the world.

Testino is today 65 and still working in the fashion industry.

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Written by Marine Lazarus

Marine Lazarus, an Anglo-French photographer who moved to UK 3 years ago to study journalism at Brunel University in London. Marine is responsible for our Photographers Biographies section.

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