Lei Ann...Off Duty

acupuncturist kung fu sifu speed typist hawaiian-born bostonian zombie hunter...so what's a girl supposed to wear on her day off? leiannoffduty@gmail.com ~ FB: Lei Ann Off Duty

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*mario testino: in your face/british royal portraits at the museum of fine arts*

i love boston…i really do.  there’s always something fun & exciting happening in this city.  however, something of the greatest magnitude happened last week that you’d expect from someplace like new york or los angeles.  you see, mario testino, famous vogue and vanity fair photographer, debuted his first ever USA photo exhibition right here in our humble city.

i was invited by my blogger pal, sami, to the press preview of his collection 4 days before its public opening.  we met up with other friends, smita & renata, organized our agenda for the day & proceeded to make our way through testino’s hand-picked gallery of gloriousness! 

karlie kloss, bao bao wan & shaolin monks || beijing || 2011 || american vogue

right away, i was taken in by the above photograph.  yes, it’s a fashion spread & a beautiful shot, but obviously with me being a martial artist, how could i not immediately recognize shaolin monks whom i’ve trained & competed with in years past?  the fact that testino could speak to my heart so directly with the juxtaposition of kung fu & power…fashion & grace…literally, the both halves of me…it took my breath away!

as we wandered through the 5 rooms full of photographs…some literally life size & some could easily be framed pictures hanging in your home.  we ooh’d & aah’d over celebrity photos we recognized from magazine covers of madonna & lady gaga, to our high fashion model favorites of stella tennant & gisele bundchen, to even the most candid & intimate moments caught of the partying glitterati.  because honestly, who else but mario testino could bring you a glimpse into that world where donald trump is lighting kate moss’s cigarette? 

daria werbowy || cusco || 2007 || british vogue

even this breathtaking wide angle picture placing a high fashion model in all her avant-garde regalia against the backdrop of mario testino’s native peru.  it literally took me to a whole ‘nother world.

gemma ward || los angeles || 2004 || vogue paris ——- lara stone || paris || 2007 || british vogue

the above photographs i found very interesting because the one on the left immediately reminded all of us of another blogger friend of ours, holly of covetous creatures, & her pale lavender hued silver hair.  the other photo of lara stone just purely spoke to the fashionista in me who wanted to lounge about at home on a chaise lounge in the most fabulous of wedding ball gowns :)

after we had finished perusing the main gallery, we headed over the more intimate collection of testino’s portraits of the british royal family.  such a stark contrast to the glitz & glamour (even nudity) we just walked through.  this much smaller exhibition showcased the quiet & more candid moments of the queen, the princes, kate & the late princess di.  even though this collection was more subdued, it was nonetheless just as awe-inspiring.

the last part of our day involved listening to ann & graham gund MFA director, malcolm rogers, in a very casual, almost conversational manner, interview the man himself.  mario testino chatted about everything from growing up in peru, having such outlandish personal style himself, his big breaks working with madonna & versace and how even after this session at the MFA, he had to go to work! (as if photographing beauties karlie kloss & alessandra ambrosio is work…hahaha!)  after that, he kindly fielded questions (mostly from us bloggers) & he seemed amazed that there were so many of us.  he even asked “should i start a blog???”  no, mr. testino…but you should start an instagram!  could you imagine the kinds of photos we’d see of his everyday life?  now *that* would be amazing!

mario testino:  in your face & british royal portraits are currently on display at the museum of fine arts boston from now until february 3, 2013 & june 16, 2013.  please go to the MFA’s website for visiting hours & more information.  

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