Mario Testino

Famous Photographer


October 30, 1954 in Lima, Peru. He is 61 years old

Family Background

His father, a businessman, was the son of Italian immigrants. His mother was of Spanish and Irish decent. He was one of six children born to the couple.


He went to public school, when he went to college he attended at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, the Universidad del Pacifico, and the University of San Diego.

When they got into Photography

He moved to London in 1976 to study photography. He made a living selling portfolios (for £25, including hair and make-up), to models. His work first appeared in Vogue in 1983. He was asked to do the cover and fashion spread for Over 21. In 1986, he moved to New York and made a shift from fashion photography, but returned to it in 1995 when he worked for a Gucci campaign.


Mario is a fashion photographer, he photographs celebrity's and models for different magazines. His photo-shoot with Princess Diana for a Vanity Fair edition in 1997 is widely regarded as the highlight of his career.

Why he is Famous

Because he did a photo-shoot with Princess Diana when she was huge back in the 90s. That photo-shoot launched his career.


In 2002, the National Portrait Gallery hosted his exhibition Portraits which broke the record for their most attended exhibit. In 2010, he was awarded The Grand Cross Order of Merit in Peru - the highest honor in his native country. In 2011, he received an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society, GQ's prestigious Inspiration prize and the Moët & Chandon Etoile Award during London Fashion Week. In January 2014, Testino was awarded with an Honorary OBE for his contribution to the fashion industry.


On the photo-shoot with the Princess: "I wanted the world to see her kindness, her humility."
When asked if he has ever taken a perfect picture he said no.
"In my relationships with Gucci, Burberry, or Versace I do find moments when I totally get the woman that the designers are trying to create. So it happens. I mean it is funny, really, because I am so hard on my work that I never really get to see it how other people see it. It is difficult to be your own judge."
"50% of my job is planning, 20% is the actual shoot, 30% is what happens after."

What people are saying

James Dauris, the British Ambassador in Peru, said: "Mario Testino has maintained a close relationship with the United Kingdom over the years.

His work there, including his collaboration with the Royal Family, has allowed him to establish his reputation as one of today’s best portrait photographers. Mario’s work has contributed to strengthening the cultural bridges between Peru and Great Britain."

Why I like his work

The photos he takes are beautiful and you can tell he takes his time to make each one count. In some of his interviews he talks about how he can feel what the designer is saying, and he wants to capture that with his camera. I get that he wants it to be real and i feel that i want my photos to be as real as Mario's are. All of the photos i have seen are all beautiful you can see the emotion in the model, that is what i think he is trying to convey.

Fun Facts

  • He has a charity in his home country a not-for-profit cultural organization.
  • In 2013, he shot Cara Delevingne for Burberry's Body Tender campaign - her first fragrance shoot.
  • Mario has published 11 books.
  • Mario Testino also held many successful exhibitions in museums and galleries in many different countries.
  • The Gucci campaign with Carine Roitfeld was Testino’s first big success in fashion.
  • After the photo shoot of Princess Diana, he became a favorite photographer for the Royal Family. He did the official photographs for Prince Harry’s 18th birthday. He also took the official photograph of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla on their first wedding anniversary.
  • He also took wedding pictures for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.