At MATE, the Brand New Lima Gallery of Fashion Photographer Mario Testino
Flip open the ginormous tome that is the September issue of Vogue magazine and, almost near the end, this stunning photo presents itself. The entire spread is essentially a love song by the Vogue-favorite photographer Mario Testino, to his native Peru. Taking editor-at-large Hamish Bowles along for a ride down to Lima, the two visit Testino's newly opened museum, MATE.
MATE stands for Asociación Mario Testino and, since its premiere exhibiton "Todo o Nada" features only Testino's work, MATE comes across as a monument the photographer has built to himself. Even visiting MATE on our own, last month during a brief stay in Lima, can't shake that feeling. MATE will eventually feature the work of other Peruvian artists within its restored walls, but for now it's the domain of Testino devotees.
Entrance for foreigners costs 20 soles ($7.72), which we also found quite pricey considering the entirety of MATE is several rooms, a cafe and a gift shop. We wanted to like it, really we did, and it's not totally unworthy of a visit; those who do go should have a passion for fashion photography, models and the concept of beauty though, or prepare to be disappointed. These passions we have ourselves and still...meh.
Perhaps the best aspect of MATE is its setting an example for the neighborhood, that preservation of the community's 19th century mansions should be a priority instead of left to the few and far between men like Testino. Of course just down the street, in the central plaza of the creative Barranco neighborhood, there's a Starbucks. So really we should have known what we were getting into all along.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]