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Following Jim\'s ...about Mario Testino. I\'ll get ripped for this, but...
Old 09-30-2005, 10:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I have made no secret of this at some of our workshops, but I have never posted it. I think Mario Testino is probably the most over-rated photographer in the industry today. (GASP!) I know that is just my opinion, and he gets great work, but he seems like a guy that really is not that good and has phenominal opportunities and resources so he gets lucky with some shots, but so much of his stuff is nothing special IN MY EYES. He seems like a snapshot shooter with a huge budget to me.

I know I will get ripped for saying that, but what the heck...lol.

There are SO many more talented shooters out there. So many with far more experience, and more importantly consistency. He was a waiter one day then BOOM!....famous shooter the next. Why? Who he knows and what he looks like. These are the realities of the business, and anyone choosing to enter this business should just accept that going in, but at least other shooters SEEM TO ME to have so much more talent. Mario HAS done some great work. He shot beautiful stuff of Natalie Portman for Vogue, but he had very little control of that shoot. He was assigned a very specific theme, and was handed a setting.

Let me just give some visual examples of what I am saying. I KNOW that there are examples of beautiful work by him, but my point is that his body of work as a whole does not seem TO ME to be as good as the other top fashion shooters today. His body of work is certainly far more impressive than mine, but I am just making a personal observation and opinion public. Here are some examples of why I feel the way that I do...

Here is a shot FROM VOGUE that was shot by Mario Testino.



To me...go out with your Kodak Weekender Disposable and shoot the same dang image. If you are him...you get it in Vogue and people call you a genius. That concept is nothing new. The whole "It is good because he is famous" is both obvious and old news and we all need to accept that and move on. I am just raising a point about his talent in general. Just for the sake of discussion I guess.

Here is a shot from Vogue by Henry Clarke


TO ME well....you get my point I am sure. I could give a ton more examples, but I am wasting enough time and few will read this far anyway.[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

I know that it is offical....I am old. To me it feels like beauty in the fashion industry is less valued every day. That probably means that I am out of style. What I think is beautiful is out of style. That is how the new guys always make their way into the industry. It is how I made my way into the industry. Some "old" guy lost his job because what I liked was more "in". lol.

Before anyone goes on the "You are just jealous" tirade about my views of Mario Testino, let me say two things. First, yes I AM jealous of his work. So let's get past that. I am jealous of everyone's work at that level and that is why I strive to be there. Second, my desire to work at that level does not taint my view of his work in particular. There are so many at that level that I am jealous of and also admire their work. I love seeing great work. It inspires. This is just MY observation and opinion of his talent.

One more thing I am jealous of...he gets to hug Cameron Diaz...lol.


Anyway, I know it is uncool to make negative comments about those higher in the ranks. I just thought I would throw out an honest opinion even though it may not be PC.

Hope it does not tick too many of you off. If it does....uh....oops!
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Mario Testino.
Old 09-30-2005, 11:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Although I like his work, he's not one of my favorite ones, I really like Meisel's stuff.

I don't agree with you, as I think you are not seeing things, just looking at what you want to look at, but like you said it is your opinion and nothing wrong with that.

What Im totally against or I think you are completely erroneous is this: " He was a waiter one day then BOOM!....famous shooter the next. " From what I have read and from what I have heard of ppl ( who's knowledge and experience I respect ) that is not true.

And no need to be jealous of him hugging cameron, he won't be doing any more than hugging. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] I'm sure you know the book he's been shooting since he started and will publish once he's done as he puts it.. and it has nothing to do with girls. =)
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Re: Following Jim\'s ...about Mario Testino. I\'ll get ripped for this, but...
Old 09-30-2005, 11:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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you just sound bitter, dude. i'm kinda disappointed to read this coming from you, since you are regarded as a working professional, and certainly looked up to in this community. i would even go as far as saying that many aspire to be like you -- that you are somewhat of a role model in the industry.

it's not so much the "i don't like testino's work" that bothers me. that's subjective. i may not like steven meisel's work, but i can't make statements about his skill or lack thereof, or anything else about his shoot production because i don't know these things for a fact. it would be wrong to assume that someone is less of a photographer because he has a huge crew. or that he only shoots available light or whatever. the point of the matter is several companies CONTINUALLY entrust tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars (perhaps millions) to shooters like testino, year after year. fame may get your foot in the door, but skill and consistency keeps you there.

"He seems like a snapshot shooter with a huge budget to me."

no, that would be terry richardson. at least testino knows how to operate something other than a disposable. but hey, if i was given that same budget, you're damn right i'm gonna hire people to make my job easier. it's tough enough to work without an A.D. and the client breathing down your neck, let alone 100 people running around set.


"He shot beautiful stuff of Natalie Portman for Vogue, but he had very little control of that shoot."

and you know this how? that's not a valid statement to make unless you were present during pre-production, or was at the actual shoot.


"He was assigned a very specific theme, and was handed a setting."

as are most editorials, rick. you should know that.


anyway, please don't take offense to my reply. but i think you need to check yourself because you're coming off as less than a pro. talk about his work -- do an honest critique of why it doesn't work for you. educate the less-experienced members of this community with your great skills instead.


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Re: Following Jim\'s ...about Mario Testino. I\'ll get ripped for this, but.
Old 09-30-2005, 11:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Who cares that matters?
I dig your animated cats!!!

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Re: Following Jim\'s ...about Mario Testino. I\'ll get ripped for this, but.
Old 09-30-2005, 12:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am defintiely not bitter about this. Like I said, there are SO many at his level who's work I don't have this opinion about.

Let's be honest for a moment. Can you honestly say that there are people that have acheived fame that you look at and say "I don't like their work." I just admitted it publicly. It is like me saying "I don't think Pauly SHore can act." He gets the jobs. I respect that. Same with Mario Testino. I was just saying here is someone who's work I don't like and here is why. I gave examples and that is all.

I made it clear that that is my opinion, not fact.

When he shot Natalie Portman he shot on a movie set that was not of his doing. Watching the video Jim linked to in his post shows what I do NOT like about his work.

I made it clear that it is my opinion. I made it clear that it may be me that just does not get it. I am not bitter at all about it. I just kind of made an obswervation and gave a very honest personal opinion, which I clearly said is personal.

How is that bitter?

As far as all editorials, MANY times photographers at that level have creative control. I never made any comment about the size of his crew. I have no issues with that. Where did that come from?

I think you may be confusing what others said with what I said, and you are transfering tat on to me. Re-read what I wrote. I clearly said that it is all my opinion and it may be just me that feels that way. As far as educating people. I showed why I feel like I do, and people can draw whatever conclusions they want. I am cool with that. Just like I am cool with some people not liking my work because it is "too clean" for them.

We all have opions and we all know what they are worth. I just put mine out there for discussion. Thanks for participating. :-)

As far as your belief that everyone at that level has great talent or they would not be at that level...well...that just is not true. Just like many actors lack talent, but fame may keep them there. Pauly Shore has had quite a career...but do you think he can act? He can entertain some people obviously, but can he act? Form your own opinion there, but I think most people will get what I am saying. Same goes with photographers, or anyone "famous." Fame or success is not a measure of talent. It is a measure of fame and success. ;-) Some network invested a lot of money into Pauly SHore's reality show recently. :-)

I said very clearly that we all need to accept that part of the business. It is reality. I was just commenting on a personal view of his talent. We all know what opinions are worth. :-) I also threw out a personal opinion about beauty in the fashion industry today. It is clearly just my view. We all have thoughts on these things or things like it. I just said it. :-)

Sorry you were disappointed in me personally. I didn't intend to say what you got out of what I wrote. My bad.
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LOL!
Old 09-30-2005, 12:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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They are fun, huh?!
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Re: Mario Testino.
Old 09-30-2005, 12:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Can I still be jealous he hugged Cameron Diaz?

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Re: Following Jim\'s ...about Mario Testino. I\'ll get ripped for this, but...
Old 09-30-2005, 12:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I can join in the "overatted" bit. That goes on a lot.

I see shots in Vogue and other magazines that would get ripped up on GG for "rules violations" and just downright poor lighting, etc.

But, if you call it "trendy" or cutting edge, or whatever, others are supposed to think it is cool.

I suppose there comes a point where every shooter at whatever level tries something "new" or different to grab attention, but I have never understood why an underexposed, grainy, poorly lit shot, gets acclaim because the shooter is famous, where some amateur could take the same shot.

What I can say, is that on one day I can see a shot from a total amateur that rocks, and on another day, a shot from a pro that sucks.

I don't really care about the guys last shot or the next or who shot it, I only care if I like it...which of course is subjective to a point.

I like some of his shots. I don't like some of his shots.

This has nothing to do with my skill level.

Overatted, mabye. Has he done some really incredible work, yeah.

I couldn't care less about his circumstances, who he knows, etc.

I would like to hug Cameron though.

Mark
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Re: Following Jim\'s ...about Mario Testino. I\'ll get ripped for this, but.
Old 09-30-2005, 12:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Let's just say he is living proof of the benefits of having a great 'rep'. It's much the same as Paris Hilton being famous for being famous.
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Re: Following Jim\'s ...about Mario Testino. I\'ll get ripped for this, but...
Old 09-30-2005, 01:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with you on everything except the Cameron Diaz part--I think she's overrated too.
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