Over a celebrated, three-decade career, Mario Testino, the godfather of fashion photography, has become renowned for capturing the faces of the world’s most notable women, from Princess Diana to international supermodels such as Kate Moss and Gisele Bündchen. But a significant body of his work has long gone unnoticed—intimate and playful portraits of men depicted in unconventional societal roles.
“I have never thought of myself as just a photographer of women, or women’s fashion, and even though I am probably most known for that,” Testino tells TIME. “[A book about men] is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and over the years I have had different ideas about it, but it never felt quite ready. I guess I didn’t feel like I had fully explored the possibilities.”
Now, the images have resurfaced through SIR, Testino’s latest and largest photography book to date. The limited edition book, published by Taschen with a print run of 1,000, is signed by the photographer and features more than 300 photographs dedicated solely to the men Testino documented over the last 30 years.
Born and raised in Lima, Testino explored new continents far removed from his native Peru, to Rio de Janeiro, where as a teenager he became fascinated by the Brazilians’ indulgence with the perfect body, and to London where he embarked on his photographic career. During this journey, the prolific photographer not only witnessed the evolution of men’s style and self-perception, but his boundary-pushing approach to portraiture actually contributed to the transformation: Josh Hartnett in smudged red lipstick and fake eyelashes; Mick Jagger and Keith Richards locked in a brotherly hug in a Los Angeles hotel room; David Beckham snapped kissed by Orlando Bloom at a party in Milan.
“I believe men have changed,” Testino says. “I feel that men are more open to ideas and possibilities in many things including what they wear and how they look. Men have had these ideas put upon them about how to be that are generations old, but I think today they are more open to live their lives in a way that is right for them and not to follow a principle which is outmoded.”
Michelle Molloy, who edited this gallery, is a senior international photo editor at TIME.
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