The Terry Richardson You Don't Know

The Terry Richardson You Don't Know

After reading the comments on the Miley and Terry article I wrote the other day, it made me realize how many people are in the dark about Terry Richardson's talent. I am a huge fan of Terry, mostly because he has an 'I don't give a damn' attitude but he turns out some pretty glorious images when you aren't paying attention.  Most people when they hear the name Terry Richardson they think creepy, old, incredibly lucky photographer who gets to see a lot of boobs. But in reality he is highly talented and brought in millions last year for doing much more than mediocre white wall shots.

Little to everyones knowledge, Terry doesn't just shoot white wall shots of provocative young women. So I wanted to bring to light a list of campaigns and editorials that he has worked on that you have most likely saw and didn't even cross your mind that Terry was the photographer. Terry has shot the Yves Saint Laurent campaigns since 2010, Bongo, Aldo, Summer 2013 for H&M, multiple shoots for Harpers Bazaar with Miranda Kerr and Candice Swanepoel as well as numerous campaigns for most international Vogues.







I think the biggest problem with Terry Richardson is that his personal work is so easily available on his Tumblr. Everyone sees the boobs and babes go up so quickly that they tend to forget the behind the scenes photos he posts on the regular. Today he even posted a photo in the Amazon with a tribe. Our random personal work might not be appreciated by the masses just like Terry's usually isn't, but his commissioned work is top notch and you can't deny that.

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These are not very good....

Been doing this for six months and have since abandoned models because they are completely boring.

No, you are unable to engage them.

You obviously haven't tried shooting fashion. It's not as simple as it looks :)

A lot of fashion photographers have a skillset more akin to film (or commercial) directors than what we usually associate with "photographers" in the classic sense, and I don't mean that as a detraction. Diminishing their skill by noting the work of others on their team is a little like saying Scorcese doesn't know what he's doing because he has a screenwriter, costume designer, set designer, and cinematographer. Usually, the ultimate responsibility for the quality of the fashion image rests with the photographer, and most of them do a great deal of "directing" that photo--it's like a one-frame narrative film or television commercial. In Terry's case, love him or hate him, he is one of the most influential photographers working today. Look at any mainstream fashion ad--American Apparel, J Crew, Gap--they all have taken queues from Terry's work. Are his photos always sophisticated in the technical sense? Maybe not. But the images are almost always arresting and hold the eye for a moment longer than photos taken by the rest of us, and as a whole, his work has a distinctive flavor that is easily recognizable. In my mind, that's a good photographer.

Terry Richardson and Miley Cyrus are made for each other because it's all about manufactured shock value. I could care less about Richardson's commercial work...there's nothing there that sets him apart from the others. It has no soul, no originality, so it's dismissed. While I can appreciate what he does with his personal work, I don't really care for it because most of it is a complete fabrication.

Yes, he's basically the Roman Polanski of the photography world ... But based solely on his work, which I think is the purpose of this article, I have to agree that he's done some pretty spectacular work. I think he's a master at getting the most out of his subjects.

Only Roman Polanski had charges pressed against him.

Edward Porter's picture

Terry Richardson is the Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) of the photography world -- a fully capable photographer that would rather murder his photos if given the chance.

Best. Analogy. Ever.

Corey Melton's picture


stefano druetta's picture

you know what? despite these "regular" great-looking fashion pictures, the white wall portraits are just stunning: you can't get each and every person you throw a crude flash on their face, to be as wild as he can make them look like. you can't have both obama and miley to be like that unless you're terry richardson and you forget about the environment you're portraying somebody, about the super crazy light setup, and you just focus on the person, on his/her personality. that's it. number one skill in portrait photography.
5 years ago I would have never defended his work, coz I didn't appreciate the aesthetic of those portraits. but now I do. kudos terry.

His commercial, fashion, and on location work is some of my favorite of his. Probably because he's thinking more about composition, etc. and there's a team behind it that is using all their heads. But some of his personal work can be great too - I just feel like he can and has done better than that Miley Shoot. If anything, that shoot benefits her - much more than it does him. I love those shots he did of Miranda Kerr (Esp. where she's eating spaghetti) I'm so glad you posted one from that!

he is an a-hole... that is what i give about him.

said the anonymous


Sometimes I wonder what makes a good fashion photographer. A fashion shoot is made by a lot of people, great make up artists, Hair dressers, fashion specialists, really good looking an expensive models, photoshop artists and thousands of dollars worth in photography equipment and assistants. When you see a fashion picture you see the work of all of them and the beauty of the hot model but many tend to say "Wow, that's a good photo, the photographer it's pretty good" So, what does the photographer do? Framing, ligthing set up, camera config (When it's not in AUTO mode with the build in flash popped up) composition (helped by others vision like fashion designers in set). Could anyone of us take a good shot by having all this awesome help? What makes a good fashion photographer?

I wasn't impressed with his commercial work. It looks the same as every other fashion shoot. I think it's a crying shame that companies will shell out big bucks to someone who made a name off of bad lighting but ignore the other talent out there.

Like someone on fstoppers said, creativity and uniqueness is seldom rewarded with money. Whereas a good business sense is.

THANK YOU! Although I personally do not like the way he objectifies women, he is a terrific photog. What most people don't seem to realize is that a blog is for fun, unprofessional photos. My blog has stuff I wouldn't even consider in a million years of putting into my portfolio. Although a majority of his photos are on his blog, that majority of photos are mostly BS and its easy to tell that those photos are mostly fun. I'm glad you posted this article as some of his work is incredible and shows he does have quite an eye.

How does he objectify women? Do you know the guy?

Do you know the guy? Blindly defending someone isn't a smart choice either, you know?

Defending who? Asking 'how' is defending these days? No man. Get off your weed.

Yes, as a matter of fact, that is exactly a question in defense of the guy that was called out for objectifying women.

In terms of defending a guy you don't know, see also "Either your envy clouds your judgment or you have no idea of what you're talking about. Either way, he can handle a camera. He can compose and his assistants can light. But yeah, most of his work is business-know-how." and "Unless you have actual evidence beyond supposition and speculation from "blogs", I suggest you keep those claims to yourself. As to whether he knows photography. He definitely does. That's just a fact. If you don't get that, well that is your problem - not mine."

Like I said, you smug bastard, you hypocrite, you shouldn't be calling people out on whether they know a guy they are vilifying if you are going to do the same thing by blindly defending the same person you don't know.

If you can't see this, you can't be helped...

Posts on fstoppers have become so unproductive feels like asking pigeons on an Eagles life..

You should contribute some content.

I'm @ the Eagle Academy For Pigeons right now this is what I have learned so far....

1. You don't yourself get any better knocking someone else's creative endeavors sitting in the comfort of the glow of the computer screen.

2. Rare are the few in photography that get pleasure and an education to boot from expanding the minds of others thru teaching..

3. For every 1000 people that can draw a straight line there is one that can do it better than 999 others that claim they can do it better.

4. This is a strange one but I have seen it happen...Same light, same subject, same camera, same settings subject doesn't move but different picture..Only thing that changed was you and how can that happen if we all complain but don't change?


regardez c'est la merde de chien

Dave Piper's picture

Thank you for writing.. Food for thought !! There are many sides to the man !!

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