This month’s cover star is Kate Moss, who needs no further introduction. Mario Testino, the man who took Kate’s photograph, shouldn’t either. One of the most coveted fashion and portrait photographers in the world, he’s responsible for putting the super in model more times than anyone can count.
Growing up as one of six in a middle class family in Peru, Testino travelled to Britain at the age of 19 in search of a community and of a type of fashion he just couldn’t find in South America. By the time he picked up a camera in 1980, he had established a unique style and an eye to see the details that others could not.
“I say to myself I am always looking for beauty, but beauty is not just one thing or one way of being.” he says, “There is beauty everywhere and it is so vast. It is also in the eye of the beholder, so I do look for what I find beautiful but I also look to challenge myself.”
With his first Middle Eastern pop-up exhibition HEAT open now in Dubai’s design district, d3, he sat down with Emirates Woman to talk photography, Dubai, travel and sticking to your own individual style.
Mario on discovering photography:
“When I discovered photography it was a bit of a light bulb moment as it combined so much of what I loved – people and fashion. It hasn’t been easy, there is a lot of work involved.”
Mario on his style:
“I guess I know what suits me and I stick to it. I suppose I am quite classic in a way, I have tried many styles over the years but I now know what works for me. Also, I travel so much, to different places and climates, so I have to have a wardrobe that works everywhere. I guess we all have our uniform at the end of the day.”
Mario on visiting Dubai:
“I have been to Dubai before, but I am really interested to see how it has developed, especially culturally and creatively, and to see the d3 and learn of their plans as it was not there last time I was in Dubai.”
Mario on travelling:
“Travel has shaped my work and myself in so many ways. It is that exposure to different cultures, different ways of doing things – it’s eye opening and mind expanding.”
Related Story: Mario Testino Reveals He Wants To Bring Kendall Jenner And Gigi Hadid to Dubai
Five things you didn’t know about Mario Testino:
1. He once convinced the editor of Allure to put an unknown model on the cover – her name was Gisele.
2. He has published 11 books.
3. He is a favourite photographer for the British Royal Family, he photographed Princess Diana five months before her death and took the official engagement pictures for Prince William and Kate Middleton.
4. When he first moved to London, he lived in the abandoned wing of a hospital for seven years, working as a waiter with dyed pink hair.
5. A fashion lover from a young age, he had his school uniform altered by the family tailor to look different from the other kids.
What you will learn from the March issue
- How Art Dubai has established itself as the world’s most global art fair in just a decade
- We’ve been seeing a lot of them on the catwalk recently, but do bucket hats work on the streets?
- The ways in which UAE chefs are coping with an increase in dietary demands from allergic, intolerant or just plain fussy customers.
Also out this month: Emirates Woman Mini
What you will learn from Mini
- Why you should encourage a love of reading in your children – and how to do it.
- Should kids have to work for their pocket money? We weigh in on both sides.
- Glamping trip: where to take the family for a little dose of sun, sand and fresh air.