Terry Richardson and bad taste go together like wine and cheese a fact evidenced by his various displays of clichéd sleazy fashion photographer douchebaggery and all those pesky allegations young models have brought against him.
In this month’s Vogue China, shooting South African model and Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel, Terry does what he does best. While we love Candace, this shoot is a hot mess full of bubbles, over-sized props, way too much metallic spandex and a truly atrocious blonde wig.
In case you are not familiar with the anti-Helmut Newton of our generation check out this stellar profile on Jezebel, be warned though it is a pretty graphic account. Last year, model Rie Rasmussen blasted him when the two came face to face in Paris, on the red carpet for a film she directed.
"He takes girls who are young, manipulates them to take their clothes off and takes pictures of them they will be ashamed of. They are too afraid to say no because their agency booked them on the job and are too young to stand up for themselves. His 'look' is girls who appear underage, abused, look like heroin addicts . . . I don't understand how anyone works with him."
Unable to control her anger Rasmussen went on to say, "I told him what you do is completely degrading to women. I hope you know you only [bleep] girls because you have a camera, lots of fashion contacts and get your pictures in Vogue.[NYDN]
He was apparently too flustered to react to Rasmussen instead running inside to the bar and calling her agency to complain about her the next day. Despite all the negativity surrounding him, Terry continues to work and book major editorials, ad campaigns and even photograph famous figures from President Obama to Lindsay Lohan and Penelope Cruz. The problem of course is the editor’s who continue to request people tike Richardson despite knowledge of unethical behavior.
Organizations like the Model Alliance are working to pass laws protecting young models from people like Terry Richardson. Another exposé highlighting the highly unethical practice of using and abusing young models “imported” from abroad is the upcoming documentary Girl Model. Girl Model follows girls plucked from obscurity in Siberia, who are sent to work in other countries like Tokyo with no regard to living conditions or the people (e.g. photographers) who will be waiting to take advantage of them.
Most recently Condé Nast International pledged to stop shooting underage girls in all 19 editions of Vogue from now on. Beginning with their June issues, the editors have made a pact to stop using models under age 16 or those who, from the viewpoint of the editors, appear to have an eating disorder.[NYT]
Scroll down to see some highlights from Terry Richardson’s editorial in Vogue China.