Mario Testino's 'Undressed' Series is About to Take Over Your Instagram Feed, Here's Why

Los Angeles, 1996 | Courtesy of Taschen
Los Angeles, 1996 | Courtesy of Taschen
Photo of India Doyle
23 April 2018

A fashion photographer who needs no introduction, Mario Testino‘s output is prolific, energetic and sensual – none more so than in his latest tome: Undressed, out on Taschen.

Mario Testino: new book

The release coincides with a new exhibition at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin. The photographs in both the book and exhibition capture models in various stages of undress and compositions vary between candid and styled, sexualised and vulnerable, demonstrating the full range of Testino’s un-imitable eye. In an interesting nuance, the title ‘Undressed’ also seeks to present Testino in new lights, with previously unpublished photographs from Testino’s studio on show for the first time.

Phillipe, Up Street, 2000 | Courtesy of Taschen

In usual Testino fashion, the photographs offer an array of well known names such as Kate Moss and Amber Valletta, alongside beautiful portraits of unknown men and women, sometimes alone, sometimes in groups. The effect is to weave a textured depiction of private scenes, marrying the emotional, physical and aesthetic in 50 visceral images. In the book, introductions and commentary from Carine Roitfeld, Manfred Spitzer and Matthias Harder also help to shed light.

Melisa Miller, Vogue Italia, Paris 2000 | courtesy of Taschen

The exhibition and book follows on from Testino’s recent release of SIR, also published by Taschen. In a magnificent and mighty series, masculinity was playfully explored – traditional tropes overturned and exaggerated, and new identities introduced. Both books also follow on from Mario Testino’s towel series, in which the Peruvian photographer captures famous individuals in towels and robes. Here too, the tension between private and public is wonderfully explored.

James Goding and Donovan Leitch, Los Angeles 1999 | Courtesy of Taschen

Mario Testino exhibition, Helmut Newton Foundation

That Mario Testino is being showcased at the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin is fitting: Newton was famous for his nude portraits of women, and his abstract renderings of the body which saw skin and limbs spotlighted in isolation. Both approached the body as a point of fascination, while also enjoying phenomenally successful careers as fashion photographers.

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