20 May MARIO TESTINO – JOSHUA YELDHAM collaboration
Editor’s letter: April 2016
Edwina McCann introduces the April issue of Vogue Australia.
Towards the end of his three-week stay in Sydney, Mario Testino commented that I was very patriotic. I’d never thought of myself as particularly patriotic, but, as on so many other occasions during this project, I’ve come to believe his observations are astute. Seeing some of the aerial images of the city I grew up in (one image focuses on the Sydney harbourside neighbourhood I was lucky enough to call home) gave me goose bumps.
I love Australia. I love Sydney.
I love the creativity of Australians and their “can do” attitude. I love the positivity, the beauty of the landscape and oceans and the extraordinary light. There are plenty of problems, but we’re indeed a lucky country. Seeing our surroundings, our birdlife and fauna and some models we’ve worked with for many years through Mario’s fresh eyes reshaped my view of this place and its talent. Mario is a deep thinker and a very talented editor. This is his 10th edition of a Vogue title as editor. It’s a milestone of sorts for him, and a huge milestone for us at Vogue Australia. I’ve admired Mario’s work since I started obsessing over fashion photography in the early 1990s while a young fashion assistant at Vogue.
His versatility as a photographer is unusual, and though each shoot is very different, every photo is so clearly of his making. Although he can shoot in many different styles, his images are always his own, always Testino: polished, beautiful and full of optimism and charm, like the man himself. The passion and intelligence he brought to this project was inspiring. Having now read that he studied economics and loved maths, I believe he possesses one of those rare minds in which the right and the left side are in perfect balance.
This magazine is so much more than just beautiful pictures. From the very beginning, Mario wanted to explore the psyche of the Australian male; wondered why so many eccentrics were born here and yet had to travel overseas to feel acceptance and questioned why our open-minded society has been unable to reconcile gay marriage. He’s not a critic but a curious observer and is genuinely interested in encouraging thought, debate and the role creativity plays in enabling us to reconsider ourselves in a more introspective manner. Thanks to his research, we discovered the talents of artist Tony Albert, and were able to introduce him to those of Joshua Yeldham.
During our many conversations and meetings, he also reinforced my belief that a magazine, or any creative endeavour, is only as good as the sum of its parts. As with most things in life, it’s all about balance. Vogue is only as good as the team that puts it together, and each person who contributes to an issue, no matter how junior or senior the role, plays a part. In this age of the individual, we so often lose sight of the value of the collective and the importance of taking a holistic view. To create a truly exceptional image, everyone on set must produce perfect work.
To this end, the day after he finished shooting, Mario spent time with the Vogue Australia team to discuss his inspirations and challenges and inspire us all to create pages and commission features in tune with his wonderful work. The team he pulled together to create his images consisted of many expat Australians who were only too pleased to come home and work on this special project. Interestingly, he commented that before coming to Australia for this – his first trip – he had a view of Australians and the country based solely on the many talented expats he had photographed or worked with.
Now, I believe his fascination with our far-flung land has grown into a love that I hope will be lifelong. From our first conversation and the suggestion of this project at a Louis Vuitton show in Paris two years ago, Mario’s generosity and spirit has infected us all. The anticipation of this issue in our office was only bettered by the excitement of its completion and being able to share this beautiful
magazine with you now.
Thank you to Mario, to his wonderful team, and to mine, for making this edition of Vogue so unforgettably special.