An American portrait and fashion photographer, Terry Richardson was born in 1965 in New York City. His father also did photography for the fashion industry but he struggled with drug abuse and schizophrenia. Richardson was raised in a neighborhood in Los Angeles, known as Hollywood. He went to Hollywood High School and Nordhoff High School. As a teenager, he was shy and lacked socialization skills. He was the bass guitarist for five years in The Invisible Government, a punk rock band. It was in high school that Terry Richardson started doing photography.
He has done campaigns for Aldo, Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs and many others. In addition, he has worked for magazines like GQ, Vanity Fair, Vice, i-D, Vogue and Rolling Stone.
A campaign by Richardson for Diesel, titled Global Warming Ready, won the Silver Lion for Print media in 2007 at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. While working for this company, Richardson also photographed confidential portraits of Renzo Rosso, founder of the business. In 2011, with Carine Roitfeld (fashion designer) at Colette, Paris – Rosso and Richardson hosted a joint book launch.
In 2012, the first independent exhibition of Richardson’s work was held at OHWOW Gallery in Los Angeles. The display was named TERRYWOOD and it lasted from February to March 2012.
Terry Richardson’s work revolves around repetitive themes including celebrities, sexual ideas, nudity and unusual humor. Initially, his subjects were photographed with a white background however gradually he began using different backdrops. Apart from photographing his subjects, he poses with them in many pictures as well. In some pictures he lends his glasses to his subjects so they could pose pretending to be him and he could pose like them.
There has been controversy over Richardson’s photography depicting sexuality. He has also been accused of sexually exploiting models many times. Rie Rasmussen, filmmaker and model, accused Richardson of the way in which the photographer used her pictures in his book, Terryworld. Her photos were accompanied by images off partially nude girls depicting an act of sex.
Following this allegation, Jezbel.com, a website asked other models to step up and share their experiences they had with the photographer. Jenna Saures who is a blogger for this site claimed that she received many complains against Richardson’s behavior. She summed up and said that the photographer asks models to take off their clothes and in the name of a photo shoot, starts touching them. However, he is cautioned by his assistants who keep an eye on his actions.
As a response, Richardson mentioned how hurt he was to know these false allegations on him and that he has always been respectful and considerate of all the people he has photographed.
A model named Noot Seear supported Terry Richardson claiming that he never forces people to do anything they don’t want to do or are not comfortable with. Even Marc Jacobs, the designer agreed that the photographer is not ill-spirited.
Talking about his personal life, he married Nikki Uberti but after she was diagnosed with cancer, he left her and leaned towards actress cum model, Shalom Harlow.
He has had a lucrative career however one thing that resulted in him being a target of hostility by the fashion industry and otherwise was simply his use of “sex” in the name of art and photography. He has earned an evidently scandalous repute. His work continues to shock certain public and as long as he continues to put forth his views through such photography, people will keep reacting.