It was in 1997, for the cover of her album Ray of Light. ‘At 2pm she said, “OK, I’m tired. We’re done.” And I said, “But I don’t have the pictures yet.” She said, “You’re working for me and I say we’re done.” I said, “No, we carry on.” The picture she used on the cover came after that. She didn’t intimidate me, you see. I thought, I have to push my luck here, so I started keeking her like dis, with my foot.’ He gives me a demonstration, under the table. ‘She was, like, “Hey, what are you doing?” And I was, like, move here, move here,” and suddenly this created an eentimacy. When these people come across someone who treats them as an equal, it puts them at their ease.’ …
…What about when celebrities are notoriously controlling of their image – celebrities such as Madonna? ‘I was really lucky with Madonna because she was the first celebrity to come to me that wasn’t just a model. It was before Diana. With her I knew I had discovered my style because I like to believe what I am photographing. A certain reality. You know with digital you can do anything. I could be photographed sitting here with you and then in the lab you could be replaced with a pink elephant. When I started I wouldn’t do airbrushing but then I came to see it was OK for wrinkles but not everywhere, you know, leave the natural texture of the skin. When Madonna first came to meet me in a hotel I said, “My God, I have never seen you like this without make up!” Before, you know, I had only ever seen her being the tough girl, or Marilyn, or the rock chick. Instead she came in looking very natural, no make up, flat shoes and ponytail. So I said: “Can I photograph you like this? See who the Madonna without foundation is?” She agreed, but when I showed her the photographs before retouching she was, like, “Oh my God, people don’t want to see me like this.” I showed them to her again after I had done a little retouching and she was happy. She understood what I was trying to do without the make up.
‘That was a milestone for me. It was for a Versace couture collection, when Gianni was still alive, and when it came out it was billed as “Versace presents Madonna by Testino.” And I was a no one. Who is this Testino? Until then the only photographers known only by their surnames were Newton, Avedon and Bailey. It did change the way people saw me. I became a brand.’ (A powerful one, when Testino started shooting for Gucci in 1995, sales increased by £266 million in a year.)
Madonna was so impressed with the natural look Testino had captured, she booked him again and again. ‘When Madonna got pregnant I was with her taking pictures of her tummy moving, while hundreds of photographers were outside, desperate for her.’
source : telegraph.co.uk