I dig Terry’s work. He makes compelling pictures without the aide of expensive cameras, film and retouching (not always of course) through a strong point of view and a connection to his subject.

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  1. Terry’s work is certainly interesting and brings out a lot of amazing reactions, and I really dig it on that level. On another level I think its incredibly thin and completely selfish, considering he’s a portrait photographer; but I get that too (at least its role in the market) and acknowledge that its a very delicate line. We all have personal vision and its ignorant to ask or expect photographers not to bring their own issues and aesthetics into the exposure, but of course with my background in journalism I think a photographer should work harder to reveal their subjects, not themselves. (I don’t need to see Mr. Richardson’s dong again, thanks).

    Speaking of people doing less with more, however… I always think of people like Gene Richards, one of my heroes. And speaking of dongs, Alec Soth (Niagra, for those who never noticed) also does a hell of a lot with very little in a different way.

  2. I’m a big Terry fan, but an even bigger Juergen Teller fan. I feel the grouping of Teller and Terry is inappropriate. Although, not surprisingly, I hear much more derision towards Teller due to his lack of faux-glamourization. Terry does glamourize but in a less expected manner. It works and is incredibly effective, and quite sophisticated, really. The whole “point and shoot” idea is coincidental, although it does have meaning in both of their respective work – it’s just that the meaning is different. Teller’s subject manner is generally more conservative then Terry’s, but the treatment is more disturbing to the glamourous-fantasy-seeking eye. Personally, I think that real beauty has to be direct and honest, but I’m in my early thrities and am a product of the Teller/Terry 90s reign. Oh, and I recently starting obsessing over Araki. Holy cow!

  3. I love that this style of photography exists and think it was perfect to match Lindsay Lohan and Terry Richardson for a portrait session.

    I know someone who worked with Terry recently and will get a full report posted.

  4. What’s wrong with expensive cameras? I just got into Leica and let em tell you , they are worth every penny!

  5. I shoot Leica as well. Teller and Terry both use Contax G cameras (Terry uses others as well) which is on a similar level of performance. The low tech exterior of their work has nothing to do with the cameras themselves, but the lighting.

  6. Andrew, I think I’m going to be spending some time on your blog. I love what you’ve written on Teller, and I really like your entry on Bob Richardson.

    I love the Laura Dern story, and not just because I love Laura Dern (watched Inland Empire four times so far). Anyone remeber the Venezia story Teller shot for the Feb 07 issue of W? Definitely one of my favorite editorials I can remember.

  7. Ooh my favourite subject….

    Is the Teller/Richardson style not just the Emperors New Clothes? Art sh*te for the sake of it?

    The more people laud them with praise (because that’s what you are supposed to do right – to be ‘cool’) the more others hire them.

    They’re not photographers – they’re snake oil salesmen.

    My 6 yearo old could do the same with a point and shoot.

    Pretentious rubbish of the highest order.

  8. I know that the hip, cool, “Chase Jarvis” thing to do is to have YouTube videos on your website, of yourself shooting photo sessions, but like that old saying of “Some things you shouldn’t see being made — laws, and sausage”, I’d almost add “watching photo sessions” to the list.

    While it’s always curious to see how other photographers work, and I always think they’ll have some secret sauce up their sleeve, in the form of some crazy lighting scheme, or some way that they bond with the subject, it’s amazing how most every photo session looks the same, on video. (And sometimes they can look borderline silly).

    And to see him holding that little camera, and see them just slap that mirror on the floor, and see that same-old “pose face” on the model, and the silly crawling, well, to me, it just somehow loses some of the allure.

    I love his finished images, for the most part, but after seeing this video, I think it’s better to see ONLY the finished image. Like in The Wizard of Oz, sometimes, it’s better to keep some thing behind the curtain, out of sight of the public. Sometimes, less truly is more.

    Just one opinion.

  9. Tomas if your 6 year old can convince Mrs. Lohan to slink across a mirror as a visual metaphor to cocaine use you should put him to work immediately. If it’s so easy why not do it and become rich and famous yourself.

    Mark, I find these videos interesting when famous people are the subject but otherwise agree with your assessment of the value to the photo community. Video taping your catalog shoot is akin to Mr. Richards shooting his dick.

  10. “If it’s so easy why not do it and become rich and famous yourself.”

    Do you really not think any professional worth their salt couldn’t reproduce the same scene in a New York minute? Its not exactly technically hard to point a point and shoot is it.

    But getting the “celeb” that’s 99% of the photo sorted. And that’s all about
    connections. This industry is all about who you know not what you can do.

    That’s why talentless Teller and Richardson get on.

    Create a ‘hype’ for yourself and get people thinking your the next best thing because ‘its so bad it must be good/cool’ and then editors are falling over themselves to hire you – because their competition used you so you must be good.

    Its a self-perpetuating myth.

    Its certainly not photography.

  11. Tomas,

    I’m sure you would agree that the history of photography, in general, has revealed a plethora of exploratory methods of artistic creativity involving all sorts of ways of seeing and capturing imagery. In all honesty – aside from photo illustrations- would we really like to see a “standardization” of sorts that would define what constitutes professional photography based on the cameras that are used?

    At the end of the day, for most of us, it all boils down to a matter of personal taste. In the fashion/luxury goods industry as well as the editorial magazine field, it’s a matter of business and taste; that’s where the Terry Richardson aesthetic really comes in to play. How or why it came to this point really doesn’t matter. Photographers quite often undergo an artistic metamorphosis and Mr. Richardson is no exception. We must not forget that Terry was a well accomplished photographer long before his “twig and berries” gained fame among the photo-book literati.

    I met him about 13-years ago in the east village when he debuted a short 16mm black and white film/music video that he shot and produced for my friend’s band, which was quite good. Even then, elements of his current style were painfully evident. He spoke with me, with expert knowledge, of 8mm-16mm film stocks and shared information and techniques used in making the film; even offering the names and places of labs and film stock sources. The current point-and-shoot aesthetic is simply an extension of an earlier personal vision that he was successfully able to franchise.

    Keith Green

  12. Hey Mark,

    Yeah, I saw that.

    It never ends with that lot and there’s more to come.

    I’ll be flying down to Florida next month to photograph Dee Dee’s ex-wife, Vera Ramone. She’s currently writing a memoir that is gaining a lot of interest. Possibly film.

    All the best,
    Keith Green

  13. Tomas,

    Any monkey can learn lighting ratios and purchase production value. Very few can make interesting photos with a strong point of view. There’s no hoax with Teller and Richardson. It’s not hype.

  14. What kind of camera is Richardson using at the shot?

  15. contax g2 (hardly a point and shoot) and a yashica t4.

  16. Hey!…I Googled for 8mm film, but found your page about Terry Richardson…and have to say thanks. nice read.

  17. Hi there…I Googled for laura dern, but found your page about Terry Richardson…and have to say thanks. nice read.

  18. Hello…I Googled for pictures of laura dern, but found your page about Terry Richardson…and have to say thanks. nice read.

  19. Tomas Davidson: has his view but I feel he has no idea what he is talking about. The form, theme, colour, energy and classic composition in Terry’s work is fantastic. Not to say the things it makes the viewer feel!

    Keep doing the geek talk and buy the best gear you can. Take great meter readings and keep every detail in the higlights etc etc…etc… Be more perfect!

    Well, you cant put soul into an image with technique and you hate that cos you do not know how they do what they do.

    It drives you nuts!


  20. Funny that’s it’s all men commenting here, mostly positively, about their work. As a woman, I find both Teller and Richardson to be misogynistic and exploitative, and I find nothing edgy or avant-garde about their photos. It’s typical quasi-pornographic 70s-style voyeur shooting. It certainly does NOT make me want to purchase Marc Jacobs clothing.

  21. Dear Alessia,

    Richardson and Teller can be exploitative in there work but so are many photographers and what about the gay ones? You just do not see those images in such a large scale.

    Its not about woman or man. People will always want power over others. It is a human thing.

    Can I also add those adds are not aimed at you so it does not matter that you dont want there goods.

    My best

    Evan Monaco

  22. Honey, Marc Jacobs does not need you to purchase his clothing.

  23. @ Alessia: that’s the great thing about it … I wouldnt wanna trick people in buying stuff they normally wouldn’t by using my skill of photography… so if they don’t ” brainwash” people into buying stuff they normally wouldn’t but still get paid by the the people owning the companies…whats wrong with that? i would call that ” beating the system” ( like helmut newton said )

    Basically Terry Richardson created the freedom to do whatever he wants and still be able to pay his checks. I like the rawness of his photography…. perfect photography gets me bored really fast. I need some rawness…. and I feel these kind of photographers can provide that.

  24. You have said it very well Tommy K.

    This is why I back Terry Richardson.

    The world does not run on ‘pretty’

  25. Terry is just such a beautiful soul. My friend, Luke knows him personally and has worked with him on several occasions. Apparently he is a tad socially awkward! I think that his style is so vulgar and simply naughty. It’s sketchy and it creates a perfect atmosphere. I personally love it.

  26. In the end it’s what you feel comfortable with and your personal choice of camera. There’s a photographer in Britain Pogus Caesar who uses a Canon Sure Shot and makes no apologies about responding to the moment as quickly as possible. He’s been using this process for 20 years and it’s simple and to the point.

    I enjoy the style, rawness of the work (black and white 35mm) and how the subjects engage with the photographer.

    Look at this, it might inspire some of us.


  27. Trawling the net provided more info on Pogus Caesar. He started out in early 1980’s photographing NYC with 110 camera – then exhibited the work at National Museum of film & Photography in Bradford, UK.

    Since then he’s stayed true to using basic cameras to photograph all over the world.

    His latest exhibition at UK symphony hall shows Joburg and Capetown through a Canon Sureshot lens.

    Of course the argument could be that anyone can use these cameras, but not all capture the moment. The debate will run and run.

  28. Many thanks for link to OOM gallery. Caesar’s work it straight, no frills – I love the honesty in his technique. By the way he has a new book published -muzik kinda sweet!

  29. Portrait Of The 1985 Handsworth Riots – Pogus Caesar – BBC1 TV . Inside Out.

    Broadcast 25 Oct 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey7ijaXv6UQ

    Birmingham film maker and photographer Pogus Caesar knows Handsworth well. He found himself in the centre of the 1985 riots and spent two days capturing a series of startling images. Caesar kept them hidden for 20 years. Why? And how does he see Handsworth now?.

    The stark black and white photographs featured in the film provide a rare, valuable and historical record of the raw emotion, heartbreak and violence that unfolded during those dark and fateful days in September 1985.

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