One of fashion’s most controversial photographers, Terry Richardson’s sexually charged and hedonistic aesthetic made his work popular with editors, designers and consumers. His editorials have appeared in a multitude of magazines including Rolling Stone, GQ, British and American Vogue, Vanity Fair, i-D and Vice.
Richardson is no stranger to controversy due to the youthful look of many of his models and the sexually charged, and at times, explicit nature of his visual aesthetic. Hadley Freeman of The Guardian wrote in 2013, “What marks Richardson out is [that] he has been repeatedly accused of sexual harassing young women modelling for him.”
These allegations resurfaced when accusations of sexual exploitation arose against Bruce Weber , Mario Testino and later Patrick Demarchelier in 2018, leading to publications including Condé Nast International titles and Hearst magazines severing ties with Richardson. Bulgari, Diesel and Valentino were also among the brands that issued statements claiming they had no plans to work with the photographer in the future.
In response to these allegations, Richardson has said, "I just want to take a moment to say I’m really hurt by the recent and false allegations of insensitivity and misconduct. I feel fortunate to work with so many extraordinary people each and every day. I’ve always been considerate and respectful of the people I photograph and I view what I do as a real collaboration between myself and the people in front of the camera."
Model Noot Seear has defended him, claiming that he does not pressure those he works with into doing anything they are uncomfortable with, while designer Marc Jacobs , although admitting problems within the industry, has said that as a person Richardson is "not ill-spirited."
Richardson has shot campaigns for Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford , Yves Saint Laurent , Aldo and Supreme, among others. He has produced several campaigns for Diesel, including the Global Warming Ready, which won a Silver Lion for Print at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in 2007.
In 2012, Richardson embarked on his first solo exhibition at Los Angeles' OHWOW Gallery. The exhibition was titled "TERRYWOOD" and ran from February 24 to March 31, 2012. In December of that year, Lady Gaga announced that Richardson was filming a documentary about her life.
Richardson was born in New York City and is the son of Bob Richardson, a fashion photographer who struggled with schizophrenia and drug abuse. He was raised in Hollywood, which remains a great influence in the photographer’s work. Richardson’s photographs are invariably peppered with lurid, graphic and technicolour references of Hollywood’s wild youth and often features young Hollywood celebrities themselves.