Behind the Lens

Posted: March 10, 2012 by jerkmagblog in TRIM -- style, VAULT -- archives

Most of you probably don’t know many fashion photographers, but here’s one that you should: Terry Richardson.  He’s been long known for his controversial 1970’s soft porn photographic style.  His career was a happy accident as Richardson fell into photography and out of drugs.  He has shot campaigns for Marc Jacobs, Aldo, Supreme, Tom Ford and Yves Saint Laurent—all designers that usually circulate risqué ads.  He’s also done editorials for Rolling Stone, GQ, Vanity Fair and Vice.

Richardson was mostly known among fashion inner circles until a slew of bad publicity and sex scandals hit the front page.  His provocative bad-boy image that he promoted early in his career only fueled the accusations about sexual assault.  Bad press aside, his career never took too much of a hit because his style is so popular in high fashion.  He continually was hired by Gucci, Miu Miu, and Jimmy Choo.

The demand for Richardson is getting bigger each day, but why? It could be because the fashion industry is always pushing the envelope.  Fashion designers and magazines are looking to make the viewer a little bit uncomfortable.  And that’s exactly what Richardson’s photographs do.  They cross the line with nearly nude models and grab your attention with a contrasting playful tone.  His images deliver the buzz-generating gossip that clients want.

For example, in the 2010 Novermber issue of GQ, Richardson shot Glee cast members including Dianna Agron, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith.  The photos grabbed about 52 million hits and incited a huge uproar among parents.  Agron proceeded to issue an apology to her fans.

Recently he has become the most wanted celebrity portraitist.  His photographs of celebrities aren’t what you’d expect.  Many of his portraits depict a high profile celebrity doing everyday mundane things.  He’s shot Lindsey Lohan, January Jones, Penn Badgley, Paul Rudd, the Jersey Shore cast and most interestingly Lady Gaga sprawled out eating in bed.  His latest photo shoot features Gwyneth Paltrow in a scandalous Anthony Vaccarello dress for Harper’s Bazaar.

There is no doubt that Richardson’s photographs blur the line.  His photographs provide a commentary on the highly sexualized fashion industry.  But in the last two years Richardson has declined all interviews claiming that his work speaks for itself.  And trust me, it does.

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