Mario Testino Says Photographing Royalty Is a Lot Like Shooting Nude Models
But which would be more fun?
Mario Testino’s work is nothing if not eclectic. The famed fashion photographer snaps high-fashion beauties like Kate Moss and Emily Ratajkowski for his risqué “Towel Series.” But he also gets commissioned to take stately portraits of the British Royal Family.
How can the man who was a favorite of the late Princess Diana be the same guy who shot this glorious photo of Miranda Kerr in the buff (see above)?
Speaking with Vanity Fair, Testino explained all.
I see both nudes and portraits of royals as basic things in life. The royals seem to be, especially in countries such as England and Denmark, a constant—families that have existed as part of the country for a very, very long time. They are like the essence of the country. And a nude is like the essence of a human being. So even though they appear quite different, they have a similarity. They represent something fundamental that inspires me, and which I apply to my work in different ways.
Testino argues that nude shots have more in common with royal portraits than stylized fashion images do.
In fashion photography, we are free to create whatever we want to. The fashion image comes from our imagination—I even get to choose the clothes. With royalty, it is not so much about new looks and all the other elements of a fashion photograph. It is about capturing and documenting something that exists. It is about making it look its best, capturing something at its core, and making it look fresh in order to communicate what is behind the people.
Testino’s long-ranging oeuvre is now on display at the GL Strand museum in Copenhagen. The first floor of the exhibition is dedicated to royal portraits while the third floor is all nudes.
Can you guess on which floor you’d find us?