Vogue UK editorial_2006
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Now considered an iconic figure in fashion photography, his pictures have produced some of the defining images of an era, and have adorned the walls of art galleries.
CNN: Describe the conflict to do with commercial versus artistic fashion photography.
Testino: I like to believe that I'm not just a photographer. I quite like the idea of commerce and art mixed together, in the sense that our job as fashion photographers -- whether you like it or not -- can be done very commercially or very artistically. Our job is to make people want to buy clothes. That's what we do, and however much it is fascinating to have our pictures hanging on walls afterwards and selling as fine art prints, I think that our initial job is to sell clothes and magazines and whatever we're told to sell.
I like to believe that I do make a difference because my productions are expensive. I hire the best team of hair and make-up artists, the best team of set designers, the best stylists, the best models and when a company is spending all that money you want to make sure they're making a profit because otherwise you are redundant.
For a while I was criticized for it. Some people believe that as photographers we should be more artists than focus on commerce, but for me I chose fashion photography because I didn't choose to be a fine artist because I didn't want to be alone in a studio. I prefer seeing my work in a magazine and I like making a difference in how people see something. CNN Interview
Mario Testino is also credited with bringing to an end the reign of the ubermodel. Rather than pay the fees demanded by Linda, Naomi et al, in the early Nineties Testino championed a new breed of model - including Kate Moss ("my favourite"), and Stella Tennant.
Mario Testino - official site
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