I’ve always found myself to be spellbound by advertorials and editorials in magazines, more often than not, in Vogue. Since I was a young teenager, I’ve analysed and re-analysed photos of models, actors and actresses and laser-etched them into my memory. To achieve such high quality imagery required for top-magazine editorials must be a very tricky task.
Models are scouted for their unique beauty, physique and height. Under the worst lighting conditions and the oldest camera phone, they would still look unreasonably beautiful. However, for models to be used, they need clothes and clothes are designed by fashion designers. For fashion designers to have their work showcased, they require a magazine to spread the word. A magazine can only spread the word visually, because fashion is all about image. And top magazines require top photographers. Using the phrase ‘top photographer’ is an understatement for Mario Testino. He is the absolute cream of portrait, fashion and royal photography.
‘Gangs of New York’ , photographed by Mario Testino for Vogue US February 2011
Adriana Lima & Douten Kroes photographed by Mario Testino for V Magazine #76
Jamie Hince & Kate Moss, photographed on their wedding day by Mario Testino, August 2011
Doutzen Kroes photographed by Mario Testino
Lana Del Rey, photographed by Mario Testino for British Vogue March 2012
Kate Winslet for V Magazine #73 by Mario Testino
Keira Knightley, photographed by Mario Testino for British Vogue UK’s Jan 2011
To be photographed by Mario Testino must be one of the most surreal experiences and honours, because you would almost certainly never look better. He possesses a rare gift, its almost magical. Of course these images are retouched, edited and retouched again and stylists and makeup artists are constantly at hand, but to capture that one perfect image is something only someone like Mario Testino can achieve. He is a photographic genius who just keeps on going. He doesn’t just have one style, like some photographers, he has immense versatility. Some images are light, crisp and airy, some are dark and full of shadow. Others are bright yet full of anger and some are soft and beautiful. Of course, the brief from the commissioner needs to be precise and succinct, but to deliver in accordance with the vision of the person requesting the photos must feel at times like stabbing in the dark. I imagine myself at the original commissioner for a magazine editorial, receiving the initial photos after the shoot, and I would be speechless. The images would be above and beyond anything I could possibly imagine. I think I’d find it very hard to go back to Mr Testino, requesting any amendments.
The images below are Burberry’s Autumn/Winter 2012 campaign shot by Mario Testino and were only released last week. They are beautiful, styled like an old movie, dark and atmospheric, quintessentially British with a perfect balance between the clothes and models in the foreground and the depths of eerie Autumnal London in the background.
Next time you’re looking through a magazine, take a minute to wonder about the photographer, the story behind the photos and the reason the photos were commissioned for the article. There’s alot more to magazines than we give them credit for and there is certainly alot more credit we can give to the photographers, especially one of my all time favourites, Mr Mario Testino.