On the Town: Scoping Out Mario Testino’s New Museum in Barranco

Foreign Service LifePeruPhotographyRecommendations
October 25, 2012

mario 1

I recently joined an Expat Club in Lima called the Canadian International Society.  This group is hosted by the Canadians, but open to any English-speaking expat living in Lima.  The group has a monthly social with a speaker, does various charitable projects and also has a monthly outing in Lima.  Today I had the opportunity to participate in my first outing (which is sadly the second touristy thing I’ve done in Lima during my 6 months here).

The group had arranged a private tour of Mario Testino’s recently opened museum in Barranco, a neighborhood in Lima.  And not only did we get to see private areas that were closed off to the public, but the tour was also conducted by the museum’s executive director who gave us fun pieces of information about Mario’s work.

For those who don’t know, Mario Testino is arguably one of the best-known photographers in the world.  He has photographed everyone from the Royal family to Madonna.  What I did not know until recently is that he’s Peruvian (although he currently resides in London).


As part of his charitable association (MATE), he wanted to make his art accessible for Peruvians.  To do this, he went about buying and restoring a historic building to showcase his body of work.  The building is located in Barranco, a section of the city that is home to many artists and writers.


Words cannot explain how stunning his photos were in person.  The way he captured the light and colors was simply UNREAL.  I kept falling behind the group because I’d get immersed in trying to figure out how he set up the specific lighting in the shot to get the angles he captured.  And did I mention they were giant?  Oh, head’s up though – lots and lots of nudes if that sort of thing doesn’t suit you.

Here are a sampling of my favorites from the 54 piece collection.  I was delighted to hear that his “Greatest Hits” collection will be going up in January.  What a perfect excuse to go back!  Oh, and did I mention that there’s a charming little café there as well?  I can’t tell you how glad I am that I discovered this place early in our tour, as I know I will be returning many, many times…

Model: Reese Witherspoon (Sienna Miller above in white dress)



PS – The cherry on top of the tour was that an Indian Princess was doing a photo shoot at the same time we were there so I snuck in and watched a bit!

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1 Comment

  1. Nomads By Nature says:

    I love that he saves old buildings to use for exhibitions. The photos are lovely too, I can see the allure to go back many times. Especially with a cafe!

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