Well done and congratulations to Mario Testino, who, it has been revealed today is about to be awarded a Moet & Chandon Etoile – he’s the first person EVER! So to do. Hooray! Possibly the most famous working fashion photographer in the world, Mario is famous for his exotic shoots on location in places like Peru (where he is from) Brasil, and, in The September Issue, Rome with Sienna Miller.
He took the snaps at Kate Moss’s wedding, he shoots campaigns for top brands here there and everywhere and he flies around the world on a non-stop whirlwind of fashion, glamour and first class lounges. His exhibition in 2002 for the National Portrait Gallery was, at the last check, their most successful ever exhibition. He is a best friends with supermodels, stylists and designers. He was Princess Diana’s favourite and, thus got the Kate and Wills commission. He also has a reputation for being an utter gentleman, and a pleasure to work with.
Our own personal favourite story about Testino is one that he recounted on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, a few years back but available to listen to again now, should you have an idle 45 minutes . . . (how genius is that?)
So . . the story is that in his 20’s he moved to London from Peru – where he was from a well to do family, and his father wanted him to go to University in the UK. Because he wasn’t going to University or working to support himself, his father stopped sending him any cash, and he and his friends moved into a disused hospital that was a residence for tramps and alcoholics. He and his gang lived there for 7 years in the end and Mario even made a photographic studio in the old X Ray department. So. . . years and years later, Mario was commissioned to take some pictures of ballet dancers for the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House and he was with the PR people for the ballet, and he said a couple of really dreadful tramps recognized him and started shouting at him – ‘Mario! Mario!’ And the PR people were horrified and Mario reassured them – ‘it’s OK I used to live with them!’ Amaze.