PaperCity Magazine

September 2014 - Houston

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"SOMETIMES MUSEUMS HAVE TO BALANCE GIVING TO THE AUDIENCE WHAT THEY WILL WANT AND WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW THEY WILL LIKE." that rule today's media landscape. Celebrities of all sorts, in fashion, cinema, society, art. They were all together. Maybe it's what people wanted, but they didn't know until they saw it. Sometimes museums have to balance giving to the audience what they will want and what they don't know they will like. EW: IN 2011, THE ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY AWARDED YOU AN HONORARY FELLOWSHIP. TELL ME MORE. MT: It was an honor to be awarded this fellowship from the Royal Photographer's Society, an organization that is devoted to the craft of photography. It's always humbling when your peers recognize you, especially as so many important photographers have received the fellowship. EW: TELL US ABOUT MATE [MUSEO MARIO TESTINO] — PROMOTING CULTURE TO BOTH LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCES THROUGH ARTISTIC PROGRAMS. MT: MATE is something very close to my heart. It exists for so many reasons. I wanted to give back to my home country. Peru has given me so much support and inspiration, and the best way I felt I could give back would be through culture. The first time I took my work to Peru, in 2010, I exhibited at the MALI (Museum of Art, Lima). I had such incredible support from the public, with people queuing around the block to see the show. Seeing this, I realized I wanted my work to live in Peru, almost like giving my work back to Peru. I also had a desire to have a platform for cultural exchange, somewhere that other artists could show their work and somewhere I could bring work from international artists and then take Peruvian art overseas. All this is part of our mission with MATE. As well as permanently showing my own work, we have a dynamic program of temporary exhibitions. EW: "ALTA MODA BY MARIO TESTINO." DESCRIBE YOUR PROCESS CURATING A SHOW SUCH AS THIS. WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE TO CONVEY? MT: "Alta Moda" is a personal body of work for me. I discovered this archive of costumes from Cusco, one of the highest regions in Peru, in 2007, and I decided to start documenting them. I had no real end goal in mind when I began, but as I amassed more pictures, it became obvious it could be an exhibition. I decided to first show it at MATE in 2013, and since then, I have taken it to Paris, New York and now Dallas, as well as having posters of the images displayed in the streets of the city of Cusco. I guess this is an example of taking something that is Peruvian and taking it overseas, showing other parts of the world our rich culture and heritage. EW: WHY SHOW IN DALLAS? HOW DID IT COME TOGETHER? MT: The Dallas Contemporary is a really dynamic institution, and the reception to art in Dallas is fantastic. It's very much part of the culture, so it's a great opportunity to exhibit there. They are ahead of other institutions in the world. To me, it's a very important one. EW: TALK ABOUT HOW WE MET FOR THE FIRST TIME. MT: When I first saw you, I was blown away. You had a personal style parallel to your beauty that was completely captivating. When I proposed you to Anna Wintour for one of our first shoots for Vogue, she accepted, which was a very rare thing! You did not let me down, and it was not just a make-believe look but something that came from the heart. EW: RECOUNT THE FIRST TIME WE WORKED TOGETHER. HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE? MT: Oh, it was great! I did [the shoot] with Carine Roitfeld, who I worked with a lot at the time. We did a great story, and if I remember correctly, it ran in the magazine just as we had done it, which was surprising. We carried on photographing you through the years. You were always a Testino girl through and though, with tons of style and personality. EW: SINCE YOU HAVE 499,000 INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS, WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THE DIGITAL AGE AND SOCIAL MEDIA? MT: Now 524,000 [at the time of interview]! I love it. I view it like my own magazine in a way, but above that, it's the connection and conversation you can have with your followers. It's immediate and exciting. EW: PRINT VS. DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY. DO YOU FEEL ANY INTIMACY LOST? MT: It all depends on how you use both; digital doesn't have to be a loss of intimacy. I think there will always be a place to see and admire printed work, too. I think digital is just a way of photographing — nothing really changed with photography, as the whole exercise is essentially the same. One thing that is a crucial change, though, is that one is no longer restricted by how a particular film can perform, so everything is still possible. That can be a trouble, too, but not for me, as I like the freedom. EW: HOW HAS THE BUSINESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY CHANGED IN RECENT YEARS? MT: The pace is faster. I remember when we used to send the film to the labs to be processed and wait for it to come back. It would take a week. Now I can take a picture and almost straight away, I can be editing it. Or posting it to Instagram! EW: WHAT ELSE DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH IN YOUR LIFETIME? MT: I would just like to keep working hard and enjoying life. I have a desire to help people understand that everything is possible. Restrictions are just in your mind, and we have to let it go. "Alta Moda by Mario Testino," September 21 – December 21, at Dallas Contemporary, Traditional women's dress, province of Espinar. Cusco, Peru 2007 Shot in Peru. Erin Wasson by Mario Testino, Vogue Paris, 2013 Mario Testino Traditional women's dress, district of Tinta, province of Canchis, Cusco, Peru 2007 © MARIO TESTINO © MARIO TESTINO © MARIO TESTINO BEN TIETGE

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