Mario Testino, the world famous photographer publishes his new book: “Sir” on the male universe.
After shooting with the most iconic female fashion stars, from Kate Moss, whom he also dedicated a book to (“Kate by Mario Testino”), to Princess Diana in 1997, to Sienna Miller for the amazing September 2006 Vogue cover; the Peruvian photographer decided to dedicate a book to men.
Testino explaines: “I decided that the time has come to put all the work that I have done for men together, and to really define what my take on men is. And what are the things that attracted me in a man’s picture.” In the book Testino traces his career and says how the “male”concept has changed through the years: “The way in which men are seen in photography, fashion, and the way men look at the photographs that portray them have changed in recent years. The subject came to the fore: the male image, the style of a man, a different attitude towards the face and the male body.” For example, he says, “Tattoos in my generation were a sign that you were a criminal. They weren’t a sign of coolness or of a point of view. Today, everybody has a tattoo. In my time, to wear an earring for a man was shocking. I moved to London in 1976 and of course dyed my hair pink and had two earrings on one side. I went back to Peru and it was quite a shock!”
In the book we can see the typical contrast of Testino’s style, the bright colours come from his childhood in Peru, but at the time Lima was a very catholic city of South America, where the young Mario couldn’t fully express his creative flair, to see an evolution in his work we have to wait for him to move to Brazil. Only in Rio de Janeiro he finally captures the typically Brazilian freedom, beauty and “easy-living” lifestyle, among all the amazing beaches and the joyful population. He always finds new models around the city, even in the most unconventional places. The subjects he pictures space from tradition to sex, to underground: three features that often coexist in his shots.
Tradition is expressed through uniforms that the photographer has pictured many times, the Peruvian army that represent the attachment to his Country, a continuity that never changes. Tradition also conveys through the concept of family. Everybody remembers the shoot of the “Brangelina” family taken by Mario. Family for the artist is symmetry, characteristic he is obsessed with. The importance of tradition in Testino’s vision is due to the fact it never changes, counter to the fashion industry that changes season after season.
In the book unknown ordinary people are depicted aside models or celebrities like Jude Law, Colin Firth, David Beckham, Keith Richards, Karl Lagerfeld and Sean Penn with no kind of distinction.
Most of the shoots are taken “paparazzi style”, not in studio, but during big events such as the Academy awards or the Met ball. The Peruvian photographer prefers this unconventional atmosphere: because the subjects are not posing for a shoot, they are just there, spontaneous, beautiful in their variety.
The book has been published in a limited edition, only 1000 copies of it exist. Each one is signed by Testino, rebound in Japanese blue cloth and enshrined in a refined metal slipcase; each one is little work of art and it’s frame is just a preview of what is inside: a place where you can enjoy an expansive vision of the male allure, through the eyes of one of the most incredible photographers of our time.