One of the world’s most recognisable fashion photographers – always clad in jeans, Converse footwear, checked shirt and black plastic specs – Terry Richardson is undoubtedly talented. Having shot covers and high-fashion editorials for Vogue, GQ and Harper’s Bazaar, he has a distinctive point of view and aesthetic, capturing celebrities, up-coming models and It girls in ‘spontaneous’ poses, spotlighting them against a white canvas. Other photographers, like Steven Meisel, have been quick to praise his skills.
Over the last few years, though, the veteran photographer has been labelled ‘The world’s most f**ked-up photographer’ by Jezebel and has been blasted by the media for his ‘perverse nature’. Strings of models have accused him of abusing them on shoots, overstepping the line and touching them inappropriately.
Some excuse him, saying it’s just Terry being Terry, but the latest New YorkMagazine cover story asks: ‘Is Terry Richardson an Artist or a Predator?’ The article examines his extensive portfolio, childhood, sexual assault accusations and his (uncertain) future. Industry insiders are now urging big brands like H&M, magazines and celebrities not to work him.
My guess is that the industry will continue to turn a blind eye to Richardson’s antics, for now at least. Despite the accusations, not much will change until he is convicted of sexual assault. Some publications and celebrities might refrain from working with him; but the truth is they want to work with him. He is good. It is any aspiring model’s dream to be shot by Terry.