Mario Testino, Visionaire Chic Party, New York 1997

Mario Testino talks death and sexuality

To mark his first US retrospective, the world-famous fashion photographer and Phaidon artist discusses his career

There was a great interview with Mario Testino by Aaron Hicklin in the Observer newspaper, wherein the Peruvian-born fashion photographer discusses his rise from the squats of London to the heights of the celebrity circuit.

In particular, Hicklin references our publication, Any Objections?, Testino's first monograph, published just a few months after his 1997 Vanity Fair shoot with Princess Diana. The Diana pictures made Testino's career, while our book introduced readers to the seamier side of Mario's portfolio, unseen in fashion magazines, and not entirely safe for the glossies.

Of this highly sexed work, he said: "I never notice a difference between photographing a man and a woman; for me, it's just somebody." Testino went on to tell the paper: "I've never wanted to call myself any sexuality, because I hate the idea of taking freedom away from you, and I think we all can be everything. I understand that at moments you have to define it, but my sexuality has been so wide and open, and that's what's influenced my way of working. I think it's given me freedom, my sexuality."

Hicklin also gets some interesting insights into Testino's working life. "I work 14 hours a day, every day," he said. "I work most Saturdays and most Sundays." Adding, "You know that most photographers die on a shoot? Helmut Newton died on assignment. [Irving] Penn too. [Richard] Avedon was still working when he died. We don't retire. We just carry on."

At 57, we're sure Mario has plenty more 14-hour working days ahead of him. Read the full piece here, take a look at our monograph here, and find out more about the retrospective here.