Last year, Vogue China approached Mario Testino to be the sole photographer for their 100th issue, a task which the legendary fashion photographer took to with great relish. Recently, Testino released the making-of video that documents the work that went into this issue. This is not one of those annoying fashion videos that is over in thirty seconds after bombarding you with bad techno music and flashy editing. Instead, this feature offers some excellent insights into how Vogue develop their concepts, as well as behind-the-scenes footage offering glimpses of how each shoot was set up.
For the first time, the magazine featured only Chinese models, focusing on past styles as well as making statements about the contemporary culture of China and its place in fashion, each requiring a completely different treatment and style. The resulting images are a testament to Testino's versatility, capturing scenes ranging from the classic to the bold and futuristic.
Aspiring fashion photographers watching this video should note all the different types of lighting utilized for the shoots. Soft natural light is used to capture the elegance of the 1950s styled fashion, the punk style shoot was lit almost like a movie set with a mix of tungsten and fluorescent lights, while the Chinese opera inspired fashion was captured with a hard direct flash. It is a helpful reminder of how much of a role light plays in creating the right atmosphere.
Testino also highlights the importance of viewing his shoots like an editor, paying attention to the details and performance of his subject instead of being too caught up with the work of photography. This allows his work to have a strength of vision and impact that many photographers strive for but often find elusive. Testino's ability to adapt and innovate has made him an enduring figure in the fashion world and a voice that is still so relevant today.