Post compiled by: Sara Samad
Important note: This is not a promotion of Terry Richardson’s work but simply a profile about this work by our contributor Sara. We are not trying to create any controversy.
Have you ever wondered why a certain trend is ‘in’ this season? Why did crop-tops rule supreme all summer? And why is the much mocked ‘mom jean’ back this fall?
Every trend is a direct result of designer collections, which, in their own essence can be influenced by anything occurring at the time of their design. However, whenever I make this statement, I often get a look of surprise on the recipients face. A common reply is: “I’ve seen so runway show and the clothes on the models look nothing like the clothes I see every day.” And you’re right, they don’t, designers often present these trends in a grandiose, avant-garde manner that isn’t applicable to daily wear and seems very difficult to translate into a working wardrobe.
These designers showcase their collections to magazine editors and stylists who in turn dissect the collection and imagine it in a way that you, the everyday citizen can understand. Here’s where the role of the fashion photographer comes in: after editors and stylists have designed an editorial spread or styled a look for a campaign, it’s up to the photographer to translate their vision into reality. The photographer does more than just take pictures of beautiful models; their job is to capture the essence and aesthetic of the clothing in order to make it appealing so that you can go out and buy it.
Fashion photography plays a massive role in the fashion industry and has the power to make or break a certain trend or showcase. If it’s not appealing to me, even if it is in Vogue, why should I buy it? Every photographer has a different style and way to their work, and choosing the right photographer for the appropriate shoot is extremely important. Fashion photographers often provide the inspiration itself that goes on to produce the very art and trends that influence your everyday lives.
In the coming weeks I’ll be introducing you to some of fashions most seminal photographers and explaining what it is this person does best.
One of fashions most celebrated (and most controversial) photographers is the notorious Terry Richardson.
He’s shot advertisement campaigns for countless designers including Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Yves Saint Laurent. He’s also a favorite of Vogue editors Anna Wintour, Emmanuelle Alt, Alexandra Shulman, and Anna Dello Russo and has contributed hundreds of editorial shots to magazines such as Rolling Stone, GQ, i-D, Interview, and Harper’s Bazaar, among others. Additionally, Richardson has photographed uncountable celebrities for both private and commercial purposes. He has directed a yet to be released documentary of Lady Gaga and was also the twisted mind behind Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball video.
The Terry Richardson style is very plain, simple, and stark: he tends to photograph is subjects against a white wall and over expose the image, however, his methods have expanded as his fame increased. Yet whether the backdrop of the image is a white wall, a beautiful ocean, or the Eiffel Tower, the main concern for Richardson is his subject: it is of utmost importance to him that the people he is photographing feel free, comfortable, and at ease, resulting in an image in which the people look liberated. His shoots are fun and relaxing as opposed to the usually high pressure environment most photographers work under.
Despite being a talent currently reigning in the fashion world, Terry Richardson has very often come under fire for his overtly sexual images and themes. His images are sometimes attacked by some as being demeaning to women and vulgar, with brash and stark portrayal of sexual themes. Most recently, Terry Richardson has come under fire and attracted harsh media criticism in response to allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior towards models and assistants at photo shoots, and he was even the subject of an extensive cover story article by New York Magazine entitled: “Is Terry Richardson and Artist or a Predator.” However, countless stylists, editors, models, and celebrities have come out in defense of the photographer and his inspirational work.