If you keep up with entertainment news, the name Terry Richardson should ring a loud bell. To some celebrities, he is the “It” photographer to work with, as his photo shoots are in a relatively carefree environment, and the subjects of the photo shoots are often allowed to do whatever pleases them to feel comfortable. However, many models that he has worked with have stated that Terry Richardson is far from the incredible photographer that his images often portray him to be.
Accusations of misconduct and sexual harassment are just the tip of the iceberg when Terry Richardson is the subject of a conversation. Models have claimed that he has made lewd advances at them during their photo shoots, especially models who lack experience and are exceptionally impressionable and vulnerable. When a model is new to the industry and he/she has finally booked a shoot for publication, they can be very influential, and often timid in regards to what they are comfortable with. After all, this is one of the hardest industries to break into.
One of the more disturbing aspects of Terry Richardson’s reputation is not only the fact that he is still being hired as a photographer for big name campaigns and magazines, but that he also has his defenders as well.
One supermodel in Paris confronted Richardson about his abuse of power because of his position as a well-known photographer, saying that younger models are “too afraid” to say no, and that because their agency books them on jobs to work with him, they are in turn also afraid to stand up for themselves. Rather than defending himself, Richardson immediately fled the scene and cowardly proceeded to call that particular models agency to complain about her.
One fashion insider says that agencies are very much in tune to Richardson’s “predatory behavior,” but that he is well-tolerated because industry representatives are “sheep.” Richardson works for very well-known editors and fashion organizations, and while it is extremely unfair to side with the photographer over the victim (the models in this case), that is what the fashion industry is doing by continuing to support and employ Terry Richardson. In such a controversial world or nudity, drugs and alcohol, the one thing the general public can do in order to let it be known that this kind of behavior is intolerable from someone who is supposed to be an example for the people he is photographing, is to not support what this person is doing at all.
On the contrary, model Noot Sear has stated that Richardson is “a really cool guy,” and that everything that happens during productions are simply “participatory play.”
The question in the Terry Richardson saga should not be “What do you believe?” but rather “Why would any model lie about this?”
Richardson has an upcoming shoot with Playboy that will take place later this year. The issue, sure to be talked about, will be one that the general public will see as just another issue of Playboy, however, word-of-mouth will help consumers realize the kind of “photographer” Richardson really is.
Never be silent.