In 2015, at the Annet Gelink Gallery in Amsterdam, the complementary works of Mario Testino and Ed van der Elsken were brought together for an exhibition – Me and You. The intimate and unfiltered appeal of van der Elsken’s output has seen a recent resurgence, but the consistent appeal of both artists is their humanity.
As a self-confessed admirer of van der Elsken since the 1980s, Mario has stated that the former’s talent lies in an ability “to make contact with his lively presence and fierce look.” Me and You shows how both photographers translate their ‘lively presences’ into uniquely intimate brands of portraiture. Both, for instance, capture the intimacy of the sexual act and the passion that can accompany it. The same empathy can be found in their nudes too. The emphasis is placed on the subjects’ openness and vulnerability, rather than trying to eroticise the images.
The unique moments that Mario Testino has selected for Me and You were comprised of never previously exhibited photos of his own, and less well-known images by van der Elsken. Jhim Lamoree, Curator and Art Historian, said of both photographers; “although they excel in different photographic fields, and come from different eras and different continents… for them, a camera is not only the lens that captures a situation, but also a hand that caresses and a tongue that licks.” Similarly, Lamoree encapsulates the spirit of Me and You, in saying “this exhibition is not about photos that are perfectly composed or technically flawless.” Instead, he suggests, “[the photos] make the transitory meaningful, or a memory tangible.” Vulnerable, open and rare, Me and You is a revue of unique moments, which Mira Mira is happy to showcase again.
Photographs © Mario Testino and Nederlands Fotomuseum / © Ed van der Elsken, courtesy Annet Gelink Gallery