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Wednesday, 09 July 2014


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The right question: Why isn't this man in jail?

"He excels at something increasingly rare in fashion photography: what the designer Tom Ford calls "capturing a very real moment." "

Terry is a bellwether for the moral decay of the fashion world. Not that it was ever very moral.

I had to read part of it to find out who he was (never heard of him before). OTOH it's not a genre I follow. Is he a predator? That's for people other than me to determine.

I never heard of him. Found no significant images on the web.
If you're going to crucify the man in a photography column/blog you should at least show some samples of his sin.
(Yes, I'm feeling ornery today.)

[His photography has little to do with it. Read the accounts by some of the models he's worked with on Jezebel or The Gloss. Read several in a row and you will want to throw up. --Mike]

Andy Warhol predicted the notion that in the future everyone will be famous for five minutes (or was it 15?). And no matter what anyone says about this guy, his claim to fame will be: "At least they're talking about me."
Most of his work I can only describe as nightmarish. Reminiscent of drunken frat parties with pictures of people behaving badly. Yet we need stuff like this as a benchmark. If not for the top, then for the bottom.

Years ago I thought a lot of haters were getting on this guy's case- a balding, middle aged shmoe hanging with the hotties and livin' the dream. Then the Lance Armstrong Syndrome slowly took effect, the guy really started to smell. He seemed more experienced predator than all out party guy- hands off the celebrities, prey on the no names, play victim when convenient.

That said, I've learned that contrary to common belief- where there's smoke, does not Always mean there's fire. The guy deserves his day in court- and that's exactly where he belongs.

This isn't just Terry Richardson's fault, he's been doing it for years, enabled and encouraged by reported $160,000 DAY rates from the cabal of 'fashion editors' at the major magazines.
They are all complicit in this disgrace. They hired him BECAUSE of what he did. Over and over.

And Ray McSavaney dies without enough money to preserve his archive. Sometimes the world is just upside down.


Dear Bill,

The quality of his photography is immaterial. If he coerced and harassed women into sex acts with him, it doesn't matter if the resulting photos were great or horrible.

He gives photographers a bad name, especially fashion and nude photographers. As the title of Mike's article points out.

And, to pre-emptively shoot down another diversionary line, before it pops up-- doesn't matter if some models were fine with it. That'd be like saying it's OK if someone commits rape because a bunch of women willingly slept with him. Nuh uh.

There's seems to be no dispute that he coerced and harassed women. That's the beginning and end of it.

pax / Ctein

Sounds like sour grapes to me. What is it that this guy is supposed to be doing -- non-consensual sex, drugs, S&M, modern jazz?
Weston wasn't exactly hands-off with his models -- nothing different today, just more variations, and lower age of consent.

Ugh, I feel dirty just having read that. Whether he's guilty of any crimes I don't know, but he clearly has no respect for people or legalities if he's publishing explicit photos for which he doesn't have the rights. And there don't seem to be many lines he's not willing to cross...

Looking at the totality of the situation, I think it is safe to say that he is not the kind of person that one would want to associate with and he may very well have committed multiple criminal offenses. If so, one can only hope that his past catches up with him. As for his photographic work? - meh. His success was more dependent on who he knew and where he came from than anything else. IMO

A parallel and perhaps even more interesting case is that of the famous Magnum member Antoine D'Agata who spent weeks photographing his every moment of intimacy with a drugged out bar girl in Cambodia. So many levels of exploitation, of depravity, in the name of "Art"? And what of Magnum's choice of D'Agata as a full member, was it pure calculation, marketing? Was it not a revealing departure from their honorable photojournalism roots?

I'll stand by Terry and against the money-grubbing "victims". Go after Bob Shell why dontcha?

Absolutely agree with Michael's comment above, that Terry has been encouraged and enabled by the biggest fashion magazines and celebrities of the day, and paid handsomely for his approach and results.

Not to defend his allegedly despicable behavior with models - young, impressionable or otherwise - but don't forget he has also recently shot President Obama of all people, among countless other powerful celebrities in the music and fashion worlds. These allegations aren't brand new, I'm sure the President's people and everyone else must have known about them already and still decided to go ahead with the shoots.

Maybe he is guilty however, and it just takes some brave models to stand up as appears to be happening now. But until there is actual evidence and possibly a court date, he seems to be hated in some public opinion, but also still endorsed and encouraged by a lot of influential people.

Paying attention to, and discussing the live of "celebrity" is, in my opinion, a complete waste of our cultural energy and creativity. I know it'll never go away, but I find the whole celebrity industry to be stupid. Its too bad that 'celebrities' can't just do their job and go home. I could care less about what they do with their lives; I only care that they (and everyone else) strive to do the best work they can (hopefully for the collective good in some way).

What's that saying? "Exactly what it says on the tin" ?

I have not yet read the article , but having worked in that part of the biz albeit more than 30 years ago, a lot of this has not only been going on forever, but is part of the product.

It's sort of like a lot of 1970s rock and roll acts. " you might think that doing drugs, sleeping with a dozen groupies, puting on a show, and still having the energy to throw all the furniture out of the hotel room windows every morning is all fun and games but it's really a lot of hard work, living up to the fans' expectations, god knows they aren't there for the music"

More contemporary examples might be all the middle class kids that have to put on a show of having grown up in some gangster hellhole because their music career demands it.

Anyway, that's what's he's paid for, the only thing that would damage his reputation is if it turned out that he wasn't doing all the stuff he's accused of.

None of this excuses the people who are hiring him and puting him in a position of power over the other people they hire , just like they take advantage of other peoples dysfunctions to deliver product but never take any responsibility for cleaning up the mess.

A list of people who's minds enable them to do extraordinary things , yet render them incapable of ordinary decency or everyday competence would be exhausting long before it was exhaustive..

Not that his work is extraordinary or even my cup of tea , but someone feels it is worth paying his bills.

Our culture has a long history of letting celebrities get away with things. Just think of professional sports figures. It's what happens when the heroes we worship ain't heroes. There's not much some people won't do for money and fame.

Just another minimally talented, flavor-of-the-day prick who happened to make a bunch of money, and who produces nothing of remembrance.


If it wasn't so sordid there's something quite comical about the idea of a fashion photographer who's desperate to take his clothes off on set and swing his dick around. It sounds as if he's eight rather than forty-eight.

I would point the finger of blame at magazines morally insensitive enough to still hire him and model agencies who know only too well what kind of operator he is and yet still send him young girls in the hope that they land a lucrative job. These are the same agencies putting inordinate pressure on these girls to get as thin as possible. They will deny it this publicly, of course, but some very high-profile models have told me a different story.

People will say that that this nonsense is the essence of the fashion world but it doesn't have to be like that. I have heard rumours of fashion shoots where everyone concerned has managed to keep their clothes on.

Is he guilty for sexuall harassment?
I don't know. Do you base your opinion with hearsay arguments? Or do you know something for sure?
What is exactly you motivation for creating post like this? And is it worth the effort?
Without facts - what is left in this post and most of the comments? Only cheap morality.

And photos. Well, to me, they are interesting.

[It's a link to an article on a different site. That's all. We do this when things come along that might be of interest to people who are interested in photography. As for facts, there are plenty of facts out there in the form of first-person accounts if you care to do any research. Google "Terry Richardson is really creepy" for starters. It doesn't stop there. --Mike]

I wonder if any of the victims has ever gone to the police and made a formal complaint, or are they too afraid to rock the boat and potentially end their career?

A lot of people are enablers for his behaviour. In my view they are all equally responsible.

The only reason Terry Richardson isn't ruined by his indulgent and narcissistic excess, is because of the complicity of the industry he works in. But I don't get why this photographer is bad for photography. The whole entertainment industry is a Sodom and Gomorrah environment. Why should photography bear the responsibility?

Richardson seems to make sure he covers his ass from a legal standpoint. There are always a room full of witnesses who can always testify that everything was consensual, regardless of the questionable ethics of whatever convoluted power/pressure structure exists during the shoots. Of course legal certainly doesn't mean ethical.

Former American Apparel CEO Dov Charney was recently canned for similar behavior. Some of the stories sound remarkably similar... young women around a powerful figure in the fashion world who simply can't seem to keep it in his pants. You can never tell if everything is consensual or not. I think if a group of people can't seem to quickly come to a conclusions about whether or not someone is behaving like a sexual predator then something smells awfully fishy about the whole situation.

As far as what industry thinks of these individuals? Well, Terry's still booking shoots and Charney got offered a multi-million dollar offer to step aside and be a "consultant", so you be the judge.

I read the New York article and a long list of comments last night and had to step away before commenting. It seems beyond doubt that Richardson has abused his position and taken advantage of anyone weaker and less powerful whenever he had the chance. As several commenters to the New York piece noted imagine that a McDonalds manager attempted the same behavior, the reaction would be swift and harsh. Definitely not a reward of $160,000 day rates which Richardson repudibly commands. One thing, do the results of these "shoots" actually sell clothes?? Just wondering

"Weston wasn't exactly hands-off with his models"

Tina Modotti had affairs with Weston and Diego Rivera; both men were married. Weston travelled with Modotti, instead of his wife.

Why is everyone suddenly so eager to pass judgement on this man? Sure, you may not like his lifestyle or photography. But when we look at the accusations, we see it is all rumors -- no one actually filed a suit with law enforcement, and many accusations turned out to be false (like the message about the vogue shoot that was impersonated).

He may or may not be guilty of something, but in the end that is not up to us to decide; without any conviction, I find it bad taste to publicly shame or condemn anyone. IMHO.

Who is this guy? And why is he besmirching my name? I'll sic the Eklunds on him (I'm from Lowell - see The

He has become successful in a market that millions of people try at, and you can only do that if people are buying your product. He is smart enough to know what product sells, and I can tell you it is not family and children's portraits or for the vast majority, landscape images. As a professional you turn out the product that is in demand and you (have to) market yourself to fit that product. Maybe he is a pervert or maybe its an act to attract business, either way at a $160,000 a day (important to remember that this is likely his studio fee which pays overhead and all his staff) he has won, mostly because the public at large has paid him this for his style. I'm not defending him, I don't like taking my son to the mall and seeing the 20 foot tall posters of practically naked people, but the fact is, its not Richardson's fault he is just delivering a product that people are paying for. Don't blame him, blame society or more aptly the Advertisers who seem to be more and more running our lives.

... I had just gotten totally taken advantage of like a naïve schoolgirl.
-Anna del Gaizo wrote about her experience posing for Richardson in 2008 for Jezebel.

Even young naïve models climbing the career ladder have to take responsibility for their actions. I am not saying it is right what happened to the paid models that have came forward after the fact, but come on, there was a camera in their face and they went to this well known photographer's studio to have their picture taken. They could have chosen not to take their clothes off and leave the building, but being a female, I am suppose to support their bad choices and scream sexual abuse. Sorry ladies, but as a woman I say wise up and stop making us into victims. I'd like to hear from the models that did choose to leave once their moral compass kicked-in.

Google "Terry Richardson is really creepy" for starters. It doesn't stop there. --Mike

Trial by internet? Crowd sourced justice?

This is an excellent interactive. Watch "Wrath".


"I'm appalled I have to share a label with certain individuals."

Relax Mike, I'm an Engineer/Draftsmen by profession. I'm sure history has produced some pretty despicable examples of each. I don't / wouldn't consider myself sharing a "label: with them.

I'm rather pleased to see $hits like Richardson and Dov Charney of American Apparel circling the drain. They simply became embarrassments even to an industry with scant scruples.

The Rolf Harris of photographers?

Quite frankly this guy is scum and should be in jail. I will never buy New York magazine again and yes I am a native New Yorker.

I bought Terry Richardson's 'Morals of Confucius' for my wife, she's more into that end of culture than I am.
But I looked at it quite a bit - as it lived in the downstairs bog for a while - in the upstairs bathroom we have the mighty Viz Profanisaurus (Das Crapital); two fine representatives of "the maximalist tendency in obscenity" http://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/sep/28/referenceandlanguages

Anyway it was moved up onto the bookshelf - next to Larry Clarke's 'Tulsa' - when she hosted a mother and baby tea. And has now been replaced by Yasuhiro Ishimoto 'A Tale of Two Cities' which I thought was the only book of Japanese photography not to contain an photo of a woman trussed up with rope... forgetting the one of the girl tied to the tree by her hands (which appears in the 'Family of Man').

Why would you share his image on your site?
More space for the photographers of this world like Ray.
This person doesn't belong on the same site.

We talk about contrast in photoword. How about:


For contrast to this very interesting story...

Why now?
Why not before?

It will not be a saint but also the models stink.

easy fame.

[You need to do more research on this. Your assumptions are false. --Mike]

Definately this guy is an artist, but when he went down the road of narcistic sexually obsessed dingbat - there is not much art left to be seen. Definately, the models were not raped and the photos were concesual - just look at how the models seem to be having a good time. I do, however, believe that he is guilty of sexual harassment, which is more about power than sex. He took advantage of his position as powerful fashion photographer to harass and coerce young girls into doing things which were harmful to them in the long run. Young kids make mistakes and he took advantage of their inexperience to satisy his sexual obsessions. He is similar to Marquis de Sade, who was also guilty of abusing his young employees.

"we have met the enemy and they are us"


"I'm appalled I have to share a label with certain individuals." I'm not sure which label you feel you have to share. If it is "artist" or "photographer", don't worry. He is neither.

No Mike, I know well the story, it's going on for months.
What I wonder is why they (the models) complain now and not at the time that would take place at the facts.
Perhaps because ten years ago Richardson was not so famous?
I think that the story is less clear than it might seem and that it is not given enough space for the voices in favor.
However I like Terry's pictures and I believe that they are different from the vast majority of boring images that fill our time.


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