Mario Testino OBE, the internationally acclaimed portrait and fashion photographer has opened the first exhibition of his work in the Middle East.


This solo show, entitled HEAT, brings together works highlighting Testino’s distinct oeuvre, at the crossroads of portraiture, fashion and fine art.

Speaking at the launch of HEAT, Mario Testino touched on his work process, inspirations and methodology.

He said: “The thing about photographers is that we are all very self-conscious…I guess there isn’t really a perfect image. In my life, to capture each of my images I photograph 60 to 100 more.


He went on to comment: “I believe that photographers should never show the effort they put into a photograph. It should look like I just happened to walk by and clicked a picture.”

On photographing Cara Delvigne with a  live bear, he added: “It’s a real bear. I’ve been doing tis for 35 years and its so hard to try and stay on top because there are so many younger photographers coming up with new ideas, new technologies. I’ve always thought of Cara as a bit of a rebel…I wanted to bring out that side of her. So I decided to bring in a bear.”

Mario Testino added: “I am so excited that my work is being exhibited in the Middle East, in Dubai, for the first time. My endless curiosity has contributed to the diversity of my work, and this curiosity extends to the different cultures, people and places I have explored throughout my career.  Looking at this exhibition I feel you see this and Dubai is a perfect place to present it with its constantly evolving creativity.  I am eager to see and experience the impact that Dubai will make on my work.”


Mario Testino is a photographer with a 35-year career and works at the height of his industry. Testino’s body of work resonates worldwide and has been exhibited at some of the world’s leading institutions. His unique style and intuitive ability to capture moments and create emotional connections have made him one of the most well known photographers in the world.

The Peruvian photographer’s exhibition is curated by Simon and Michaela de Pury, of de Pury de Pury and housed in a dedicated pop-up gallery at the heart of Dubai Design District (d3). Sponsored by UAE based GINZA Group, the exhibition is open to the public from today and runs through the 15th of April.

Curator Simon de Pury said of the show: “Rarely has an artist worked more closely with the main muses of our times such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bündchen, Natalia Vodianova and Cara Delevingne. It is in no small measure thanks to Mario Testino’s talent that they have become as potent visual symbols today as Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor were in their time.”


The title for the show, HEAT, was coined by Mario himself in a shorthand reference to both the Dubai setting and also for his outlook, intensity, and vibrancy.

HEAT is a dynamic public exhibition that will contribute to the evolving and burgeoning creative landscape of Dubai and inspire the photographic community. The collection consists of a variety of works – many that have been widely exhibited at museums and galleries internationally – alongside more recent pieces that have not previously been exhibited. Lastly, iconic shots of his acclaimed Peru series, Alta Moda, have been included as a tribute to his roots and the strong bond that links him to his home country.

Mario Testino: HEAT

25 February – 15 April, 2016, 10am-10pm, Every day

Dubai Design District (d3)


All photography above copyright Mario Testino

Portrait of Testino in Dubai below by Sandra Tinari, Made Journal