On This Day in 1954

Vivacious Fashion Photographer Mario Testino Is Born in Peru

From Princess Diana to Lady Gaga, Margaret Thatcher to Madonna, Peruvian photographer Mario Testino has captured some of the world’s most celebrated figures over the course of his illustrious 30-year career. Arriving in London in 1976, Testino waited tables and sold portfolios to aspiring models for £25 while studying photography and learning the tricks of the trade. Today, in addition to shooting campaigns for Gucci, Burberry, Versace and Miu Miu among many others, Testino’s images regularly grace the covers of British, American and French Vogue, Vanity Fair, and V magazine. The lensman recently documented the wedding of his ultimate muse, Kate Moss, and took the official engagement shots of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Known for intimate portraits that reveal the more private side of public figures, and for the glossy, daring editorials that have launched many modelling careers, Testino has become one of the most iconic photographers of our time. Here, one of NOWNESS's favorite men in fashion details his birthday highs and lows.

How do you plan to celebrate your birthday this year? 
Working. I am shooting spring/summer 2012 campaigns.

What's the best birthday gift you've ever received? 
A bullfighting cape with my name inscribed in it. As if I was the bullfighter.

Your favorite childhood birthday memory? 
My 17th birthday dinner. I invited two couples for dinner at the happening discotheque in Lima. When asked if I wanted to drink champagne to celebrate, I said yes. When proposed the different ones available, I liked the sound of Dom Perignon not realizing the price. I wanted to look like I knew what I was talking about. At 2am I had to call my dad to bring me extra money as I did not have enough to pay the bill. He was not amused!

Best birthday party you ever attended? 
My 50th in Berlin. I invited 150 friends and collaborators from around the world; 143 came for a weekend celebration.

Favorite place to celebrate your own birthday? 
Anywhere in the world where I have a couple of friends. Alone is a bit tricky.

Any birthday traditions? 
Life seems to give me a present every year. I rely on it as they are always life enhancing.

If you could pick anyone to sing Happy Birthday to you, dead or alive, who would it be? 
[Noted Peruvian soprano] Yma Sumac. 

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