A Snapshot Of Reality
While the creator may have had his own humble beginnings, the photographs are far from modest.
“I want to surprise, to show the unexpected. I push boundaries- to provoke, to break down perfection, to find the unique moment. That’s what makes the photograph work for me.”
Mario Testino is one of the many photographers struggling to prove his talent is an art form. After years of trying, his work has paid off.
A Vogue and Vanity Fairphotographer, Testino has had decades of experience taking beautiful photographs of people in Great Britain and the United States.
Once a photographer for hopeful models based out of a London flat, Mario Testino is now considered the most coveted photographer in Hollywood and beyond as A-list celebrities and models that have joined him in the climb to the top.
Of course, “In Your Face” does not exhibit the work one finds in a typical issue of Vogue.
Public and private lives converge in this historic home. Ashton Kutcher and Brad Pitt pose for the camera just a few spaces away from where Mariah Carey’s image is taken back stage at one of her shows.
This combination makes the exhibit feel like a peep show where bystanders can take a glimpse at the promiscuous, sometimes lackluster lives of high-society members.
On the public side of the gallery come portraits of well-known stars like Nicole Kidman, Mick Jagger, Reese Witherspoon and Rhianna.
Testino’s expertise in lighting hides what little flaws there may be, illuminating the lesser-known sides of these celebrities.
Some are angry, some excited, others sad, and still others embarrassed. Everyone has been caught in his or her most revealing form.
Even with all of those famous faces, the real jewel of the exhibit is not in the celebrity portraits, but rather in the snapshots of life behind the camera.
One of the larger prints shows a model in a dress far too large for her to be comfortable in; the full-skirt encompasses the entire bottom-half of the foreground.
The model is wearing makeup, though her backdrop has changed to a dingy, poorly kept backstage area. She turns in an unnatural way, no doubt due to the enormous dress.
Her eyes seem to yell at the photographer to go away; she is not in character yet. In fact, she is trying to read a book while on her break.
At first glance a viewer may think this is just another shoot. In reality, Testino has managed to capture a model without all the poise and perfection seen in the final cut.
This attention to detail flows into other portraits throughout the gallery.
In one, there is a club scene inhabited by party-goers dressed only in underwear and the occasional bra.
While the bodies are alluring, a close look reveals a humorous aspect.
All the men in the photograph have their fingernails painted neon green.
Another photograph depicts several women clothed in grey fur, veils and other stunning accessories. One of them is shirtless, yet somehow Testino has blended her in.
Simply walking by, viewers may not notice this risqué character. When she is closely looked at, however, she is far more vulnerable than the rest, showing her big eyes pleading with the audience.
On the lines of the abstract and the risqué come the controversial nude photographs in the exhibit.
Only a couple of the prints are full frontal view. The majority of them show a model twisting away from the camera or hiding in the one place a viewer’s eyes want to move to.
Testino creates an aesthetic form of seduction in these nudes. They are provocative while displaying some form of emotional humanity. The artist does not look for perfection, but strives for reality.
Testino’s models may show confidence while radiating humility, passion, insecurity and hope.
“In Your Face” is one of a kind.
Mario Testino gives viewers a once in a lifetime chance to see life both in front of and behind the camera.
Some of his photographs leave his audience wondering if the shot was posed or captured by pure artistry and luck.
After the rows of photographs have been fully absorbed, one can only leave saying, “who cares?”