On March 7, Terry Richardson will open an exhibit in Paris for the first time since 1999. The news has caused quite a lot of controversy within the art world.
I personally feel as if most people are very indifferent toward the subject of Richardson and his controversial photography methods. They try to ignore the article headings plastered all over every news platform. Then the day comes, and they slip up and finally click on that big red heading and lay their eyes on that one article that pushes them over the edge.
They then join the (extremely large) “We Hate Terry” bandwagon along with the likes of both men and women from around the globe.
I must admit that I had once harbored a mere ounce of respect for Terry, being that I wasn’t very well educated on his photography methods or the way he manipulated and mistreated a great deal of his models. (Let the record show that I never for a moment felt any negativity toward the actual racy photo content).
I didn’t have a problem with Terry until I read the infamous article published in the Observer from all the way back in 2004. The article was focused on an interview with one of his former interns, a then-budding New York University communications student, known simply as “Alex the intern.” The interview with Alex revealed all of the disgusting events that took place during a number of Richardson’s shoots. Richardson allegedly exploited Alex through photographs in which she performed oral sex on him while wearing a tiara adorned with rhinestones that spelled out “slut.”
If all of this wasn’t enough to get you to at least question your previous opinions of Richardson, I urge you to take a look at his actual work. A friend of mine recently informed me that Richardson’s father, Bob Richardson, happened to be one of the most influential fashion photographers of the late ‘60s. I thought to myself, Wow, it’s all coming together. Now I understand how someone with such basic photo skills could become so famous so easily. I don’t know about you, but I am surely not impressed by his use of unflattering angles and high-powered flash, but hey, maybe that’s just my taste.
Despite all of this, I am quite interested with how Richardson’s Paris show will do. Whether or not the content is up to par, I know that it will definitely shake up the art world.