Mario Testino

Mario Testino
Mario Testino
Born Oct. 30, 1954 (age 59)
Lima, Peru
Nationality Peruvian

Mario Testino is a famous Peruvian fashion photographer. His work has been featured in many magazines such as Vanity Fair and Vogue. His breakthrough came when he was chosen by Princess Diana for her 1997 Vanity Fair photoshoot. After this, he was regularly chosen by the British royal family for their official pictures. He is widely credited for his persistence in shooting Gisele Bundchen and elevating her to supermodel status.

Early Life

Mario was born on October 30, 1954, in Lima, Peru. He is the eldest of six children. His father was a businessman and he grew up in a middle-class family. As a young man, he wanted to become a priest, but he ended up studying economics at the University del Pacifico instead.

He attended a Catholic school named Santa Maria Marianistas and later, he attended the University of San Diego. In 1976, he went to London to study photography. He lived in an uncovered floor of a hospital with very little money and he survived by working as a waiter.

Career Years

Mario has shot fashion stories for Vogue, Gucci, V and Vanity Fair. Some of the celebrities that he has worked with include royalty like Princess Diana and her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, along with the now-Princess Catherine Middleton. Testino has also worked with Cameron Diaz, Kim Basinger, Julia Roberts, Kristen Stewart, Meg Ryan, Elizabeth Hurley, Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, Lady Gaga, Baroness Thatcher and Rihanna.

Gucci and Vanity Fair

Testino2In 1995, Madonna contacted Testino to shoot her for a Versace couture campaign. During this shoot, he studied Madonna’s personality and encouraged her to use less makeup. After this, the Gucci director quickly hired him to shoot a campaign with Carmen Kass.

In 1997, Mario was asked by Vanity Fair to photograph Princess Diana. For the second time, Mario Testino used his powers of persuasion to bring out a relaxed laid back and flirtatious nature from Diana that many people had not seen. These photographs were highly regarded and became even more popular after her death.

Later on, Mario teamed up with Madonna and her daughter for the second time. He continued to shoot many iconic covers for Vanity Fair featuring great stars like Meg Ryan, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julia Roberts and Kirsten Dunst. In 1999, he released his first photography book entitled Any Objections.


After putting on a 2002 photographic exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery and watching it become the most popular exhibit in the gallery’s history, Testino went back to creating much more memorable photos. He photographed Prince William in 2003 on his 21st birthday and Prince Harry in 2005. He also started shooting covers for Vogue, including a 2005 edition with George Clooney.

Current Career

Today, Mario Testino still continues to take picturesque photographs of very famous people for a wide variety of ad campaigns and publications. He is signed to many companies such as Estee Lauder, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana. He continues to shoot regular covers Vanity Fair, V, Vogue and other popular magazines.

Apart from photography, Mario has contributed greatly to many charitable events including helping victims of AIDS and other charities.

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