I went to London to study photography after abandoning his studies of Economics, Law and International Affairs. It was during apprenticeships at the studios of John Vickers and Paul Nugent that he made his first attempts as a photographer. Living in an unconverted floor of a hospital, without much money, he funded himself by working as a waiter. He had his hair dyed pink which helped him get noticed as a photographer and took inspiration from British celebrity fashion photographer Cecil Beat.
Alongside his 35-year practice as a photographer, Testino has also worked as a creative director, guest editor, museum founder, art collector/collaborator and entrepreneur. In 2007, he formed MARIOTESTINO+ to offer full creative direction services to his clients. Provides creative direction, art direction, brand strategy, graphic design, film and stills production, digital and social media, product development, books, exhibitions, licensing and partnerships.