The problem with Terry Richardson

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

This is a good point about Terry Richardson:

His style reflects the non-aesthetic of the grunge 1990s, when Richardson began work as a photographer, and his punk youth as a heroin addict. Subjects ranging from Beyonce to President Obama stand in front of a white backdrop, captured in candid and unexpected, yet still flattering moments strongly reminiscent of a rawer, sexualized Jeurgen Teller. Images posted to Richardson’s Twitter showcase mundane, unsurprising locations. The photographer appears in front of the camera as often as he is behind it, and his face speaks for his work: everything from his ubiquitous red flannel and handlebar mustache to the signature Richardson thumbs-up says that he’s not highlighting or romanticizing the subject. He’s laughing at it. “Look at how normal this is, how cute it thinks it is and how easily it bends to my will,” he seems to say. Richardson even manages to make himself look like the alpha male when taking Instagram selfies with Norman Reedus, fan-favorite actor behind The Walking Dead’s definition-of-badass Daryl Dixon.

He is laughing at his subjects. That is really the heart of the issue. A very similar set of photos could be created, only slightly different yet still communicating respect. And people would feel very different about that other set of photos. The problem with Terry is very much the contempt that he communicates.

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