News article

World-renowned photographer Mario Testino awarded honorary OBE

This world location news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Peruvian-born photographer Mario Testino was today presented with an honorary OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey in recognition of his service to photography and charity.

One of the most highly regarded fashion and portrait photographers in the world, Mario Testino came to London in 1976 to train as a photographer. He made his name as a contributor to various fashion magazines and by the early 90s he emerged as one of the leading fashion and portrait photographers. Since then his work has featured worldwide in magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair.

His work has also been exhibited in galleries and museums across the world. One of his most successful exhibitions was ‘Portraits’ at the National Portrait Gallery in 2002, which showcased over 100 works and received huge visitor numbers.

As well as his work as a leading photographer, Mario Testino is also a great charity supporter. He launched a campaign with Save the Children to raise funds for victims of the 2007 earthquake which hit the coast of Peru, with the El Salvador clinic being entirely funded from the sale of a single print from his iconic Princess Diana portraits. He also supports Aid for AIDS, Life Ball and the Naked Heart Foundation among many others, and has received many awards for his photography and charitable work. In 2012 he opened his first not-for-profit association in Barranco, Lima called ‘MATE’ which will act as a platform for Peruvian art and will hold a permanent exhibition of his works.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

Mario Testino is responsible for some of the most iconic photographs in fashion over recent decades from Kate Moss to Madonna, and the late Diana Princess of Wales to Michelle Obama, and it’s easy to see why he has become such a respected favourite of editors and subjects alike. But he has also made his mark through his extensive charitable work, raising huge funds particularly in the fight against Aids, and this honour is richly deserved, marking both his artistic and philanthropic endeavours.

Mario Testino said:

I arrived in London from Peru in 1976 and it was here that I found my profession and a world of opportunities that I could never have imagined. I am humbled by this honour and it means a great deal to receive it from the country that has trained me for the life I lead today and that has showed me the way to give back to others.

HMA in Lima, James Dauris, said:

We are very happy for Mario Testino who, as everybody knows, is a world-renown Peruvian. He made his career in the UK and this important award is highly deserved. His work and success highlight the quality and history of the cultural bonds between the United Kingdom and Peru.

Notes to Editors

  1. Individuals who are not UK citizens or citizens of Commonwealth countries of which The Queen is Head of State are eligible to be considered for honorary awards for their services to the UK. It is not customary for The Queen to present honorary awards. The insignia of honorary awards for candidates resident in the UK are normally presented by the Government minister appropriate to the service rendered.

  2. Photos of the presentation are available to download from the DCMS Flickr photostream.