Mario Testino’s “Todo o Nada” Exhibition in Rome

The exhibition opened Thursday Evening at Fondazione Memmo displayed 54 Testino images. The show’s theme: the beautiful, sensual tension that exists between being clothed and being nude.

“As a concept, it often inspires me, the balance between the two opposites,” said Testino.

Testino’s after-part was at al Al Biondo Tevere, where in 1975 director Pier Paolo Pasolini sat for his last supper before his mystery death. History is, after all, everywhere.

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Mario Testino

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My compilation of favorites –all photographed by Mario Testino

I have always had a love for photography and at a young age I began to collect magazines. If there was one specific picture or spread that I loved– I bought the issue. A few years ago, I decided to look into who the photographers were and one of them kept popping up more frequently than the others—Mario Testino.

If you flip thru any fashion magazine today, you are guaranteed at least one spread or advertisement photographed by Testino. Madonna introduced him to Gianni Versace in 1994, which led to their collaboration for Versace’s next campaign ad. Versace decided to run the new campaign with an introductory page stating, “Versace presents Madonna. Photographed by Testino.” After that, his name was all over the fashion world and his career flourished.

“A life long affair with fashion began at a young age. I always try to recreate the world I had when I was young, which was by the beach in South America. Somebody once described that my photographs are of a girl leaving a club with her dress is falling and she’s been having a great time, and it’s true! That is where I get my inspiration from, my teen years in Rio De Janeiro.”  Mario’s secret–“Being too self-assured is unproductive, it’s better to be a little bit on the insecure side.”

I love the elements (lighting, clothes, camera position, etc.) he brings together to create an image and each element is like a key ingredient which is necessary. I can tell that Mario has the ability to connect with his subjects and capture their vulnerable side–which is what I love seeing most in his photography!

Penélope Cruz stars in Mario Testino’s commercial for Lancôme Trésor, filmed in Paris.