Mario Testino’s MFA Boston Debut


Last week marked the opening of not one, but two, retrospectives at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston devoted to the 30-year career of photographer Mario Testino. The event brought the likes of Anna Wintour, Olivia Palermo, Erin Wasson, Gisele Bündchen, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Karlie Kloss to Beantown – which is not at all surprising, given the diversity of Mario’s images and his unique relationship to his subjects.

The first exhibit, Mario Testino: British Royal Portraits, showcases the Peruvian-born lensman’s candid and formal portraits of England’s royal family – from an impromptu 1976 shot of the Queen Mother and her grandson Prince Edward to Mario’s gorgeous photos of Princess Diana and recent engagement portraits of Buckingham Palace’s newest glamour couple, Prince William and Kate Middleton. This is the first U.S. showing of many of these images, which Mario handpicked for the retrospective.

“To be honest,” Mario says, “the only thing I wanted to do when I captured the Royal Family was to show how I see them at that moment. Having lived in England for 30 years the perception we get of them is very different to the reality of them. I was very moved by Prince Charles and his relationship with his children. Because you imagine there is a certain formality between them but their relationship is so intimate that I wanted to show that.”

The companion exhibit, Mario Testino: In Your Face, is a collection of 125 iconic photographs (many of them published in Vogue and Vanity Fair) featuring supermodels and celebrities in a variety of poses, ranging from the classically pretty (Gwyneth Paltrow jumping for the camera in a Paris hotel room and a fur-clad Gisele Bündchen emerging from a white limo) to the perverse (Jennifer Lopez styled like a gender-bending boxer and Tom Brady captured mid-scream beside a snarling Doberman Pinscher). In your face, indeed.

“I have always been obsessed with people who look like they are having more fun than me,” says Mario. “They are my muses.”

With these exhibits, they become our muses, too.

Mario Testino: In Your Face will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through February 3, 2013. Mario Testino: British Royal Portraits will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through June 16, 2013.

November 2, 2012