World’s most famous fashion photographer Mario Testino to present artworld’s most prestigious award – the Turner Prize
It has been announced that Mario Testino, one of the world’s most well known and celebrated fashion photographers, will present this year’s Turner Prize at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead on 5 December 2011. The pronouncement on which of the four nominated artists have won – Karla Black, Martin Boyce, Hilary Lloyd or George Shaw – will be broadcast live on Channel 4 as part of a special half-hour programme.
Mario Testino is delighted to be able to present the award, explaining, ‘I draw endless inspiration from the work of other artists so I am honoured to be presenting this year’s Turner Prize’. He is also excited to be involved in the first edition of the prize to be held outside of a Tate venue, stating that ‘As this is one of the most prestigious prizes in the art world I am pleased that it is not limited to just London’.
One question remains, however; how appropriate is Testino for the role? Granted, the Peruvian born snapper is one of the world’s most revered fashion photographers. But couldn’t the Turner Prize committee have chosen someone who ranks in the world of art (rather than fashion)? Last year fashion designer and art collector Miuccia Prada handed out the prize and in 2008 Australian musician Nick Cave did the honors. In 2001, U.S. singer Madonna made a four-letter outburst during the live broadcast of the Turner Prize, for which the Channel 4 broadcaster had to apologize.
Testino’s is a big name, and the decision for him to open the envelope was more likely influenced by a audience-concerned Channel 4, than by the art specialists behind the Turner Prize. Surely the honour of announcing the winner should go to someone directly involved with the art community – last year’s Turner Prize winner, for example, or the director of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Godfrey Worsdale…
Others, of course, may argue that there are adequate grounds for the choice of Testino. In 2002, The National Portrait Gallery in London staged the landmark exhibition “Portraits” by Mario Testino that to date remains their highest attended exhibit on record.
His work has been featured across the globe in magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and V and he has crafted and contributed to the imagery of leading fashion houses such as Burberry, Gucci, Versace, Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Estee Launder, Hugo Boss, Miu Miu, Shiseido and Michael Kors, among many others.
He has, furthermore, photographed many a royal subject, including The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Prince Harry, The Duchess of Cambridge, Diana Princess of Wales, The Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Prince Willem-Alexander and Maxima of the Netherlands, Prince Haakon Magnus and Princess Mette-Marit of Norway and Her Majesty Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan.
Testino’s achievements have been recognised in a series or awards, including a Doctor Emeritus from the University of the Arts, London, the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award, and the Medalha Tiradentes from the city of Rio de Janerio, Brazil. But perhaps his proudest moment came when he was awarded his country’s highest honour in 2010, the Grand Cross Order of Merit, presented to him by the President of Peru.
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