Mario Testino’s No Limits

It‘s morning on 11th May and I‘m walking through Copenhagen’s busiest shopping street Strøget, heading to the venue of the day, full of excitement. Morning just like any other, only Denmark was sunnier and warmer than ever.

I’m arriving at the cozy art gallery in the heart of Copenhagen. The fact, that there is something happening is obvious, when a yard looking like it was taken out of some Italian film, gets filled with journalists and bloggers from all over the country and abroad.

Sipping my obligatory morning drink – yes, coffee, I am about to explode from anticipation. What could be just an ordinary routine to others, who are working in fashion for a while, is the biggest thing ever to me.

Stella Tennant, New York, American Vogue, 2006. Copyright © Mario Testino

Stella Tennant, New York, American Vogue, 2006. Copyright © Mario Testino

I am at Kunstforeningen at Gammel Strand, a gallery hosting the press conference for No Limits exhibition. It is a showcase of work of one of the world’s most iconic photographers – and the photographer himself came to open this exhibition. Yes, you’re welcome to join me in fangirling – I am talking about Mario Testino, for real. I can’t believe him I’m here, listening to someone I admire this much, talking about his work, inspiration and sharing personal stories.

For those who might not know, Mario Testino is considered to be one of the world’s most influential photographers. He is known for his work with Vogue and Vanity Fair and with fashion houses such as Burberry, Gucci, Michael Kors or Versace. He also captured special moments in life of royal families, including the British and Danish royal family.

Sienna Miller, Rome, American Vogue, 2007. Copyright © Mario Testino.

Sienna Miller, Rome, American Vogue, 2007. Copyright © Mario Testino.

Starting with casual „God, I didn’t know I was coming to Brasil, it’s so hot in here!,“ the rush around organisation of the event is gone and I’m enjoying now chilled atmosphere.

The talk starts with Mario explaining us what photography means to him, how he likes to work with it. „It is like playing – you have no limits, you can create something completely different every time. I like the traditional photography, but I also like the cutting edge, you know.“ In relation to photography, he loves the idea of commercial achievement one can get through it, kind of „creating a desire which makes people inspired and want them to beat you.“

Josh Harnett, New York, V Man, 2005. © Mario Testino

Josh Harnett, New York, V Man, 2005. © Mario Testino

At this point, I’m still mesmerised, but at least I’m taking notes. Everyone is curious how to take the „perfect“ pictures. Mario simply replies that „the only way to do your own pictures is when you dig into yourself, be who you are and do things you way.“ He also tells us about his photography beginnings. „I was stopping people in the streets and parties. At that time, I had no clothes, so I did nudes. Also, it is not about the camera you use, it’s about your eye, how you see things. The image is what your mind can imagine.“

From the first moment, I felt like he is really living up to his Peruvian origins. He has this temperament, the lust for life. Later, he admits: „I like to celebrate life, I like to have fun. Even in my pictures. I think it’s so wrong to think that comedy is not as good as drama.“

“I think it’s so wrong to think that comedy is not as good as drama.”

Tasha Tilberg, Paris, Dutch Magazine, 1997. © Mario Testino

Tasha Tilberg, Paris, Dutch Magazine, 1997. © Mario Testino

As he says, through his pictures, he creates his own reality. Maybe some perceived things in another way, but he keeps being true to himself and his own reality.

Sometimes I myself wonder, how do we know where to go? Whether it’s photography, writing or art, is there really something that leads us the right way? At this point, he shares a story with us: „When I was in Spain, I met this guy next to the restaurant I was going to. Dark skin and hair, tattooed, he was working on something in front of the restaurant. Totally out of plan and context of the editorial I was doing there. But I asked him to do a portrait with me. In the end, we decided to put his pictures in the story of British Vogue. You see, the mad idea can be a good idea. Your gut always tells you where to go. Follow it, because we doubt it too much!“

“The mad idea can be a good idea. Your gut always tells you where to go. Follow it, because we doubt it too much.”

Simple as that. The most precious advice don’t necessarily have to be too complicated. Right?

Being popular among celebrities, actresses and models, Mario has good relationships with countless number of them. However, everyone was curious about the one and only muse – Kate Moss. Every time I see her captured on his photographs, I just can’t take my eyes off it. So what is it about Kate?

From WeHeartIt

From WeHeartIt

Simply, as always, he says: „It’s not just the outside, but also the inside. You have to enjoy being around that person. I like she just doesn’t care. You don’t live your life if you’re too worried about what people think about you.“

So simple, but so true, no? I could go on and on and talk about this, talk about everything he said. But I will stop here, thankful that I had opportunity to hear his thoughts live. I promised myself I will keep them with me, and so should you. His love of life, temperament, his grounded attitude and ability to stay true to himself, despite of the success and fame. He is a huge inspiration for everyone, showing us, that even the most successful people started somewhere, kept on doing what they loved, being creative and did it in their way.

“Get obsessed, totally obsessed. There is no use just liking what you do, get obsessed with it.”

This is the first time Mario Testino is presenting his work here in Denmark. The title of his exhibition „No Limits“ touches upon his personal experience with Copenhagen as city which embodies openness and positive attitude towards life. To him, it has a sense of freedom and gives you an opportunity to be be and do as you want.

By CPH Sustainable Fashion Summit 2016

Mario Testino at Copenhagen Sustainable Fashion Summit 2016. Press image.

So, make sure you don’t miss the exhibition of one of the most iconic photographers out there. The exhibition lasts until 18th September 2016 and you can find more information here: Kunstforeningen Gl Strand. I hope you will love it as much as I did! Until then, I hope you will enjoy the images in this blog post, they are the original images made by Mario, who kindly let us use them

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