The Gamechangers: Mario Testino

Considered to be one of the world’s most influential fashion photographers, Mario Testino has Prince William’s engagement photos, a multitude of Vogue covers and Anna Wintour’s passport photo to his name – and that’s not including a tiny sixteen books written about his work. Whilst his name is widely recognised, his influence on the industry isn’t as widely acknowledged.

Originally from Lima, Peru, Testino’s abandoned study of economics led him to London and photography in 1976. He dyed his hair pink in an attempt to become more noticeable, and from there he left the creative restraints of Peru behind and pursued a career in fashion photography.

Testino’s break away from shopping models’ portfolios came in 1995 when Madonna requested he shoot her Versace campaign. It was this, followed by his portraits of Diana in 1997, which really kick-started his career. The glamorised images of Diana greatly contrasted her modernity against the tradition of the Royal Family. Testino’s work with the Royals endured and most recently he shot Princess Charlotte’s christening photos, relaying an intimate insight into the family.

mario testino

This capture of raw images is what sets Testino apart as a fashion photographer. One of his most famous shots of Kate Moss revolutionised the image of the supermodel and created a more human idea of the star through his use of reflections. The flash of the camera and Testino’s silhouette are seen reflected in the mirror creating an invasive mood.

Mario Testino’s contribution to the image development of major fashion houses – Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, Valentino and Estée Lauder to name a few – largely encapsulates his impact on the industry. His collaborations with Tom Ford in the 1990’s to aid the revival of Gucci further merits acknowledgement and illustrates the significance of his impressive career. His towel series continues to dominate Instagram and Twitter alike, and with his increasingly young fan base it looks like the power of Testino is showing no sign of slowing.

Cover image source:

Victoria Copeland

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