Mario Testino during the press preview of 'Heat by Mario Testino' exhibition at d3, Dubai. Image Credit: A.K Kallouche/Gulf News

Mario Testino, one of the world’s most influential fashion and portrait photographer, revealed some of his trade secrets in Dubai on Wednesday.

“If I wasn’t a photographer, I’d be a performer. I wouldn’t mind bursting into a song right now to see how you guys will react,” he said with a smile at the launch of his exhibition, Heat, at the Dubai Design District (d3).

“I am one of those annoying people who wake up and start to sing. I do the same when I am on set. And I think that really helps break the ice,” he added.

Heat is Testino’s first ever exhibition in the Middle East. Housed in a dedicated pop-up gallery in d3, the show is a collection of the Peruvian photographer’s best works from the past 35-years, featuring portraits of Kate Moss, one of his favourite muses, the cover of Madonna’s iconic 1998 album Ray of Light, intimate photos of the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and pictures of model and actress Cara Delavigne. It opens to the public on February 25.

Testino came into global prominence after he was chosen by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, for one of her last portrait sessions for Vanity Fair magazine in 1997. He’d already been a well-known fashion photographer then, his works with Moss and another supermodel Gisele Bundchen often considered standouts.

“The magic of Kate Moss was that every time I worked with her, she gave me something I haven’t seen before,” the 61-year-old said. “That’s why I loved working with her.”

He also spoke about working with everyone from Madonna to Elton John.

Testino, who’s been to Dubai before to shoot tennis champ Roger Federer, was asked who he’d like to bring to the city for an assignment.

“I am very inspired by the younger models these days like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Cara Delavigne. I think it will be amazing to work with them here,” he said.

Don’t miss it

Heat by Mario Testino will run until April 15. Entry is free. It is open every day from 10am to 10pm. It’s located at the courtyard between buildings 9 and 10 at d3. For more, go to depurydepury.com or call 04-4333000.