I wasn’t sure if the piece in Jezebel yesterday entitled “Meet Terry Richardson, The World’s Most F—ked Up Fashion Photographer” had legs but it seems to be making the rounds today and picking up steam:

Fashion’s Raunchiest Photog – The Daily Beast

Fashion’s bad boy perv goes too far – Salon

Everyone in Fashion Knows Terry Richardson Messes Around With the Girls He Photographs – NY Magazine

Model Jamie Peck: ‘Perv’ Terry Richardson ‘Waggled’ His Privates Around – Huffington Post

It all started when model Rie Rasmussen called him out. “for exploiting and degrading young women through the power of his lens” in the NYPost (here) and then that story in Jezebel where a model recounted several encounters with Terry that has now left everyone a little disgusted and alarmed with his behavior. In a few of those stories fashion insiders are defending his behavior as common for “…an industry filled with crazy people and big personalities.”

I guess I always assumed that Terry kept two separate worlds going, one in which he shot fashion, portraits and covers of high profile models, celebrities and politicians and one in which he fed and documented his sexual appetite. But, I guess I should have figured that line would be impossible to maintain and certainly even harder the more vigorous the ego stroking by the art, fashion and media communities. Of course we’ve seen photographers taken through the wringer online before and they never seem much worse for wear on the outside but who knows what potential jobs are spiked because of it.


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  1. Is another TR post really necessary?
    All this publicity is only increasing his notoriety/infamy.
    It certainly won’t effect his behavior, and it won’t keep him from getting big money jobs from people that want to be in on the follies.
    A few law suites might actually slow him down.

    • @Sean876,
      Well, that seems to be the big social experiment we’re all participating in online here. Someone writes a story that gathers steam and lights up all the blogs and then the mainstream media runs with it and… nothing. I guess that’s what you are saying.

      I can’t say that If I was the DOP of GQ this wouldn’t have an effect on me. Telling publicists over and over that he promised not to show his dong. Of course that has nothing to do with the fashion side of the magazine since the fashion director decides who shoots there.

  2. All this will lead to is his day-rate tripling.

    • @Wm Anthony,
      Did you mean his Date Rape tripling?

      • @Josh,
        You know… I never noticed the similarities of those phrases. I guess it all just depends on who’s giving the reacharound.

        BTW, any photos of Terry giving a reacharound? Actually, strike that. Never mind.

  3. Holy mutha fucken shit I had NO (ZERO) idea that Terry Richardson fucks models. I mean would ever want to fuck a model anyways? So are we back in the 90’s again? Lets all be extra safe and boring. I’m totally switching my style and going to shoot talent smiling and shopping.

    Sarcasm aside I hope this helps his career. Stupid duche bag companies catering to hipster trash paid him insane amounts of cash to do such simple shoots and it made every one money. Thats a good thing. It’s like feeding the rich their fat asses back.

    Then again this same type of thing happend with his father who was addicted to drugs then called out the fashion industry for what they are?

    I mean for fucks sake they fashion industry shows young girls with their tits and ass hanging out and now its a surprise that a photographer bangs them? And all this was because some model called him out?? Yes lets listen to models. They know whats best…

    • @Giulio Sciorio,

      Poor Terry. He’s a victim of our prude, boring society. Lighten up people! You are spoiling the fun.

      What could be more boring than the self absorbed narcism, shock for shock value, vapid pretense, of most hipster imagery? What does this type of imagery do for anyone other than the selfish? Is there any other redeeming value or contribution? Why listen to this particular slice (fashion/celebrity) of the industry about anything at all? Does fashion/celebs media hold any real significance about anything or anyone outside of a shallow self reflection?

      What is really disturbing is this attitude coming from people like yourself and fashion industry followers. The reason you need to listen to anyone in which you have relations, -working or otherwise- is because it is up to the other person to determine how they feel . Determine their own comfort level in a given situation. It is not up to the photographer, the editor, the AD, or the narrow minded group to determine how another should feel. Since when has being naked, being on a photo shoot (or both) been an accepted/expected invitation to abuse and harassment? These ASSUMPTIONS are NOT widely accepted. This is (at best) entertainment. It holds a rather small, insignificant place in most peoples daily lives. This attitude is rather telling of those that can not feel others, understand boundaries, but only behave in their own self interest. Amazing how carbon copy this is of Dov Charney – how original!

      About his work:

      TR images are predictable and boring. The images are all about TR, referencing very little about the subject. The images are not “edgy” or genuine, theses are simulations pandering to viewers expectations. The main appeal here is about the same as the latest “it girl” or celebrity train wreck, but then most of fashion imagery shares the same surface [yawn].

    • @Giulio Sciorio,

      “Holy mutha fucken shit I had NO (ZERO) idea that Terry Richardson fucks models. I mean would ever want to fuck a model anyways? So are we back in the 90’s again? Lets all be extra safe and boring. I’m totally switching my style and going to shoot talent smiling and shopping.”

      I don’t think anyone’s criticizing TR for having sex with models; it’s the harassment some of us have a problem with.

      If a boss pulls his dick out at the office and encourages or pressures an employee to get him off, that’s sexual harassment, plain and simple. This is in effect what Richardson is doing. The fact that the models agree to shoot nude, kinky photos doesn’t make it OK to mistreat them.

      Let’s not confuse criticism of harassment with being prudish.

  4. Simply put, he asks they say yes, he keeps pushing, they keep saying yes, they can bitch about it later but who cares, that’s after the fact, he got naked with beautiful girls, got tons of press, and got paid millions…he’ll keep pushing if he can keep getting away with it… wouldn’t you? Kind of genius.

  5. “World’s Most F–ked Up Fashion Photographer?”

    Probably not Terry. It’s probably one of the guys who doesn’t go around showing his dong to the world.

  6. I wonder if he stroked Shaun White’s crimson hair after RS shoot….

    • @jayms, really? i thought it was pretty clear: of course he did.


  7. this is total garbage…

  8. As the story has been told (I’m not saying it’s true, false, or fantasy, I’m saying, “as the story has been told”), it’s sexual harassment. Terry was the power person; the model felt uncomfortable, she worried about potential repercussions and worried that she wouldn’t be believed/taken seriously (all of which have come true if you read the comments here and on other blogs about this story). What does that add up to? Sexual harassment.

    What will happen? Nothing. Well, nothing to Terry. Jamie Peck? She’s toast.

    Sexual harassment.

  9. Terry is the photographer most people wish they were , but aren’t ….so they complain about it on blogs ….jeez !

    I’ve recently been trying to be more like Terry and find my life is a lot more fun ! I think he should write a book …

    • @Chris M,

      Really most of us want to be this cliche and boring? I never knew….So I should have one image of my with the family of my client on one side and the next page me licking her neck? Oh and then maybe some shots with my dick in them because that’s sooooo arty and over-the-top and risque?

      Oh wait I know, I will get tons of crew to makeup a model for 3+ hours to make them look like they’ve been up all night doing drugs and partying and then, wait wait wait oh I know I’ll shoot them against a plain white wall to comment on how fashion photography is all BS. That will show everyone!

  10. i think maybe the people affected negatively by this would be other fashion photographers. ones who do not pull their dong out. like ‘oh you shoot models? do you act weird and sketchy to the young models like Terry?’
    it is possible after all to take beautiful sexy photos of models without being all raunchy etc…

    • @marty,

      hahahahaha you’re funny. I was thinking that the fashion photographers would be negatively affected because they see his schtick and try to emulate it. Normalizing sexual harassment in fashion photography is far more dangerous than ‘negative perceptions of fashion photographers.’

      None of his actions will affect anything about his assignments until someone brings charges. Given that his targets are younger foreign models I doubt they’d ever be confident enough to enter the legal system, or proceed with a real case under the perceived danger of ending their career.

      If anything, I hope he pays those assistants well, because in the end they’ll be the ones who sell him out.

  11. Maybe if more photographers took more (a lot more) risks with their photography, a guy like Terry Richardson with all his hanky-panky wouldn’t be in so much demand. I’m mean, if he’s the only one willing to go out there and say, “what we need here is some low rez with an instant camera,” and then he pulls it off, then I guess we’re stuck with his antics.

    • @TimR, What do you mean by “he pulls it off?” You mean, he convinces people that the shit-quality photos are actually good photos because, you know, they’re “real?”

        • @J. Wesley Brown,
          It’s just that, with all the pop interest in things like the Holga and even Polaroid now that it’s gone, it’s no wonder a raw look like Richardson’s sells (or get bought I guess). They even sell Holgas at Urban Outfitters now. But I’m just talking about the look. The depravity and nihilism is a whole other thing…

    • @TimR, it’s been done. Jergen Teller, Walter Pfieffer. Terry’s style is nothing new, he just rode a wave from the 90s. As to the peice, not that it’s right, but she went in there for a shoot with Terry Richardson. It’s like being interviewed by Howard Stern and complaining about the insults. Also, she suddenly wanted a signed print, so….

      • @JMG, That’s funny – I was going to mention Juergen but didn’t perhaps because so many people like his “work.” It’s easy to take bad, snapshot photos but not so easy to convince people that you own the aesthetic.

        Reminds me of this 15 year old girl on flickr, who’s father is approaching agencies and getting some traction and she’s being courted a bit, yet she hasn’t learned know how to focus yet. They like her “look” because it’s the same kind of raw. She’d better not take any photo lessons / classes or she’s through.

        • @J. Wesley Brown, sorry, that 15 yr old model thing is creepy. Anyway, yeah, Teller is a perv behind the camera as well. It’s a harsh aesthetic that will fade out. That being said, students in photo classes are split between Terry and Ryan McGinley. A few years ago there was a rash of Sothian portraits. Mopy hipsters in the middle.

          • @JMG, She’s a photographer – not a model. Yes, hopefully history will judge them like shoulder pads from the 80’s.
            I don’t see Terry and Ryan as that similar, although this new series of naked kids on a seamless does not impress.

      • @JMG,

        Why are there no boundaries when someone accepts an interview, a job, or a shoot?

        What does wanting a signed print have to do with anything?

        • @Bob, Im not saying they’re are no boundries, I’m saying that after having “the most frightening penis [I’ve] ever seen” thrust into her hand for a forced wank, I would think that she would want nothing else from the photog. It seems that someone enlightened her to who terry was and now she’s like “it’s all good, so I’ll take my print now” and that to me takes credibility from her whole argument.
          It think one point that has not been brought up here is that I bet TR doesn’t pull this shit on high paid agency models. Just on defenseless ones that a shoot like this can either make or break.

          • @JMG,

            Is there enough information to make an assumption on the print?

            Maybe she wants to do a ritual burning of the print.
            Maybe she wants to sell it while TR is still favorable.
            Maybe she want’s it as evidence in a suit.

            Only she knows, but receiving a print is not condoning his behavior.

            • @Bob, did even read the Jezebel article? Prob not. Here: “For the record, Peck hardly seems bitter about it: “If you’re reading this, Terry, and want to prove you really are a nice guy after all, I’m over it now and wouldn’t mind collecting that print.”

      • @JMG,
        Yeah, those guys might be photographing models nude but trust me that they are not getting them to give them hand jobs like Terry is. This is a whole other issue, it’s not about shooting nudes.

  12. “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy” – Star Wars.

  13. No doubt Terry Richardson has one of the biggest devil-may-care attitudes. He seems like a total f%$#%& nut.

    While I think he is a HACK photographer – with no real talent than the ability to push a shutter.. there is something about what he is capturing and why he is getting work and being PAID. It takes a nut to capture the insanity he manages to get on film. A sane person would have stopped making the types of pictures he makes long ago. Most folks would have come to the conclusion.. “man- seeing this type of stuff is just making me sick- I gotta stop this”.

    The world has become desensitized to his sort of imagery and I think Richardson is just as desensitized to human condition and feelings. Is not his work in some cases just glorified porn? mmmm ?

    Mapplethorphe shocked some of us..but also made some truly beautiful and well crafted images – think about Mapplethorpe’s photogravure prints of flowers. Richardson.. meh.. overpaid sex addict with a point and shoot.

    I guess that is what it takes to make it. The other commentors are correct all this controversy will just him make him more popular. That the way this stuff works sometimes. The assh*&^ sometimes get a lot of the glory. Hope he saves some of the cash he is earning for therapy and not on coke.

    • @Joe Blow,

      Yours is one of the most insightful and on the mark comments I’ve seen on this subject.

      I just keep thinking the guy will flame out, that people will get sick of it all, and it hasn’t happened…maybe that’s more a comment on the photography world, and society, nowadays.

      • @don’tgetit, “I just keep thinking the guy will flame out, that people will get sick of it all, and it hasn’t happened…maybe that’s more a comment on the photography world, and society, nowadays.”

        ’nuff said.

  14. So the photographer who has made a career out of seeming like a pervert is actually a pervert?


  15. gimme a break…anyone who knows his work would have assumed…I’m not condoning, just saying…

    the shocker for me is seeing a photo of him shaking the Obeemer’s hand – who did the background check on that one?!?

  16. this is seriously news? Have you guys never seen one of Terry’s books?

    Seriously? I wrote an essay on this guy years ago. It’s all in the library. I can’t believe people are acting surprised about his shtick now.

  17. if what’s been reported is true:
    does it really surprise you? that’s what he is selling. that’s who he is. pick up his books and editorials and i’m sure you won’t see him trying to portray himself or his photography as anything other than what it is.

    for every 10 photographers that have clear lines and distinctions between their profession and the time that they set aside each day to jerk off, there’s one like terry who just blends those two worlds together. terry just happened to get quasi-famous for his semen-on-the-face photos.

    i don’t agree with his reported behavior , but again, what do you expect? people know what they are getting into with with mr. richardson.


  18. Terry is a total slime.

    All this apologia for Terry is bullshit:
    @Danno “people know what they’re getting into”
    @David “the photographer who has made a career out of seeming like a pervert is actually a pervert”
    @ChrisM “Terry is the photographer most people wish they were , but aren’t”

    Most other photographers don’t sexually assault and coerce their models, just like actors in horror movies don’t expect to get killed.

    Sure people do stupid things, but with Terry, it gets broadcast to the world (or published and exhibited without your consent several years later).

    I am very, VERY happy not to be Terry, and I’m even happier not to be one of his models.

    • @dude, how you interpreted my comment as “apologia” instead of pure juvenile sarcasm is beyond me.

    • @dude,
      1) are you involved in the fashion world?

      2) the story isn’t that surprising to me as there are people at all levels who hold a camera hoping that gives them admission to the ‘fuck-a-model’ attraction.

      3) i don’t think it’s good to pressure someone to jerk you off at a (non-porn) shoot. to say that the above people you quoted are cool with sexual assault might be a bit misleading, don’t ya think?

      ps: why comment anonymously? you are putting yourself in the ‘noble’ position, wouldn’t you want to let all your potential clients and friends know that you are such a good guy/gal? be a pal and give in to my prodding. reveal yourself gladiator.

  19. I think this debate on whether he is shagging models, whether he should be shagging them is distracting. If he is doing something illegal, then it’s a matter of justice. If he is not doing something illegal, then it’s a private matter. No, the real debate should be: is his work still relevant? I don’t know for sure it is.

  20. The companies who keep hiring him and paying him big money are the ones who look a little slimy and stupid, with their need to be hip at any cost…

    I have never understood the belief that he is a great photographer, I just don’t get it. There is no real craft to what he does. Of course, craft in photography doesn’t seem to really matter so much anymore.

    After reading the GQ profile on him a couple of years ago, I felt sorry for him, the way he grew up…no way I’d trade places with him. It’s all a bit sordid to me.

    I just don’t get it, never will. Of course he is laughing all the way to the bank, maybe he gets it better than any of us. Like Joe Blow said above, hope he is saving some of that money for therapy.

  21. Everyone in the industry knows. The rule with modeling agencies is if you have underaged girls, don’t send them to T-Bone, and don’t send any one who doesn’t know what happens on a T-Bone editorial. Some models, while not willing to blow T-Bone in the grip truck, are willing to play along and have fun with it. They have super strong personalities and maybe some daddy issues. Whatever.

    On commercial jobs, its all business, by the way. For the most part.

    If the model in question was not down for the T-Bone treatment there should be redress. That is an absolute wrong. The modeling agency, however, should know better than to send a girl who is unprepared or unwilling.

    • @Donnar Party,

      Nice job blaming the victim. That whole rape thing, she totally had it coming.

      • @Cletus, I forgot that most photographers can’t fucking read, have very limited reading comp. skills. There is noi blaming the victim. The agency shouldn’t send girls who aren’t ready for a T-Bone editorial shoot.

        • @Donnar Party,


          Is any girl ‘ready’ to get pressured into rape, not just by a photographer but by their agent as well?

          I can see the agents now: “It’s Terry! It’s high-profile! Who cares about the awkward handjobs just think of the tearsheets!”

          Congratulations, you’ve blamed everyone else but the rapist. Delusional.

    • @Donnar Party,

      Wow really you think this way? You drank the coolaid that fashion photography is just a big pretty people party free for all and the 22 and under girl who comes from a poor town somewhere in the eastern europe and who has been evaluated solely on having to look beautiful and pretend to have “super strong personalities” and be sexy since they where 16 should just go along with all this?

      I’d like to see who handle the pressure they are put in when they get a gig with someone like “T-Bone” (you using this nickname says it all). Please actually try and do something called empathy instead of idolizing a borderline predator. Anand Jon Alexander anyone?

      • @christopherlovenguth,

        I should also add that I shoot top agency models in NYC and these girls are YOUNG and they are trying so hard to impress, even someone like me, and never say no to what I ask them to do (not that I even ask them to take their clothes of). You can see in their eyes the worry they are going to do something wrong and not make it big in this business and be sent home with all the debt they’ve accrued living in this city.

        Then they are in front of the camera and BAM “super strong personality” appears to make the image work. It’s all an illusion. So many of thse young girls are in a country they don’t know and many are making money for their entire family to live on. So there is a power play there and I’m never even .1% as powerful as “Uncle Terry” who can make your career if you’re a model.

        • @christopherlovenguth, I shoot fashion in NYC too. I’m not defending Terry, but as you know he is not typical. I’m saying the AGENCY shouldn’t send girls to him that don’t know what goes on. This isn’t an excuse for Terry’s behavior: I’m saying the agency shouldn’t send girls to Terry. Many don’t.

          • @Donnar Party,

            I do understand now what you’re trying to say. I just think the words you used state more of a defense then what you’re really trying to say. Unfortunately when talking about this subject matter when you say something like “should know better than to send a girl” has the same connotation as, “she should have known what would happen if she wore that little red dress”.

            I’m glad it’s not what you’re trying to defend but you can see why so many people took what you said this way.

    • @Donnar Party, “The modeling agency, however, should know better than to send a girl who is unprepared or unwilling.”

      so, correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you’re saying that the objective of the shoot is not to capture images of the designs, etc, but to be willing to engage in sexual behavior with the photographer.

      whatever happened to the notion of a photo shoot being solely about the end result of the images?

      • @Tim, nice and shrill there Timbo. No. The agency had a duty o protect their often young and underaged charges. They don’t send girls out to shoot in a Queens basement with a wired due with a poiunt and shoot, why send them to shoot with Terry? At least there is a chance that the dude in Queens won’t wip out his dick, when you know Terry will. I don’t know what Terry’s objective is with his shoots. Maybe its getting a public hand job, I have no idea. I do know that EVERYONE in the fashion world knows the drill with T-Bone. The agency shouldn’t send girls to Terry.

    • @Donnar Party, Wow…that you feel the need to defend Terry with the lame excuse that the agencies should ‘know better’ than to send girls who don’t wanna deal with getting his dick stuck in their faces, then you’re seriously messed up! I don’t care if the girls are under age or not, what he does would get anybody in a ‘regular’ line of work tossed in jail! Take out the fact that he’s a big-time fashion shooter and we wouldn’t be having this argument at all. Imagine if your daughter went on a job interview and her prospective boss pulled his hog out and expected a blow job? Seriously…would we still be talking?!!

      When I first read of Rie Rasmussen’s allegations I understood exactly what she was talking about. I often wondered how long the Terry World dog & pony show would continue without somebody coming forward and say what she said. He’s an extremely well-connected photographer and these girls often think if the don’t just ‘go along’ they’ll get black listed by their agents. It’s almost impossible to prove, but we all know it’s true.

      • @Brad Trent, The agencies do know better and they shouldn’t send him girls. To put it another way, in the scenario you outlined above with the job interview, what if the employment agency that sent your daughter to interview with the guy who expects a BJ, knew that would happen?

        • @Donnar Party, We can go ’round & ’round all day about whether the agencies know ‘the rules’ or not…you’re still missing my point….why are YOU defending him?!!

          • @Brad Trent, I’m not defending him. I’m explaining how the big city functions. If its too horrible for you, don’t work here.

            • @Donnar Party, Gee…thanks Junior! I really appreciate you lookin’ out for me!

  22. I ‘m not sure how to respond to all of this. I will defer to the masterful lyrics of Joni:

    “Doctors’ pills give you brand new ills
    And the bills bury you like an avalanche
    And lawyers haven’t been this popular
    Since Robespierre slaughtered half of France!
    And Indian chiefs with their old beliefs know
    The balance is undone crazy ions
    You can feel it out in traffic
    Everyone hates everyone!
    And the gas leaks
    And the oil spills
    And sex sells everything
    And sex kills
    Sex kills”

    © 1994 Joni Mitchell

  23. I think he’s a crappy photographer who is laughing all the way to the bank. Far from unique these days. But I don’t think he’s been accused of rape, has he? Mutual consent seems to be the operating principle here, so while he might be a creep he’s not a criminal. And as long as some clients see him as bringing value to their brands why shouldn’t he continue to make those trips to the bank?

    • @john mcd., exactly. it might not be right, but it’s not illegal. her response that she “didn’t want to spoil the party” doesn’t have as much to do with her age as it does her weak sense of dignity. she always had the option to say no. this is like the coeds from girls gone wild complaining afterward about what they did on film. take responsibility for your own actions.

      • @Anthony,

        If you actually worked in this industry, especially the NYC fashion world, you wouldn’t be saying all this. It’s not at all like America’s Next top model and absolutely not at all like Girls Gone Wild or how it’s portrayed in movies or even the actual images produced.

        The pressure on these girls is HUGE. Even the one’s from this country are brought to an expensive city. Everything and I mean everything is billed against them by the agencies making them in tremendous debt before they start getting good rates. Then all the money goes through these agencies who put it against their debt and their own cut and it usually take 90+ days to get their money. So most agencies conveniently offer these girls “loans” with interest against pending funds they already worked for. All the while they are living in model dorms with 6+ young girls from different countries where the drama and drive feeds on itself. And they are constantly on castings and test shoots for 4-8hours a day, constantly working out and being judged and then expected to go out and be “seen” at parties and bars where they get let in.

        Now here comes “Uncle Terry” where one photo shoot from him sets you up for a career. You can’t walk away when your booker has gotten you the gig of a lifetime. It has nothing to do with dignity. It has to do with pressure from the agency they work for, their drive to want to succeed and get out of the hole and pressure from everyone around them who tends to be 14+ years older then them telling them how fun and sexy it all is.

        • @christopherlovenguth,

          Thanks, I’m actually well aware and I do work in the industry, thanks for being presumptuous. All I’m saying with the GGW analogy is that, no matter what the circumstances, she didn’t have a gun to her head. She could have said no. To go through with it and then only complain later online is like having your cake and eating it too.

          And I’m sure a lot more people know this girl’s name now, too. Exploitation goes both ways.

          • @Anthony,

            If a young emerging model says no to Terry, her career is over. People who are saying otherwise are fooling themselves.

            That is the problem with all this. It has nothing to do with people fooling around or sex on set, etc if both are in to it. It has to do with in this situation of a young women walking in to an environment like this with assistants and a MAJOR player in the fashion world Terry egging them on to do things they might not want to do.

            And now I am going to saying another thing you can claim as presumptuous, if you understood this BASIC dynamic of what women go through in male power-play situations, you’d never dare say “she didn’t have a gun to her head”. Let’s use another basic example: Do you know way many women smile when walking by a construction site while men whistle at them? It’s not because they like it, it’s because if they act otherwise they are harassed even further. Called a bitch, etc if they don’t take it from a group of men. Or cold if they ignore the men. So really what do you think is going on in a highly charge set like Terry’s if he decides he wants to pursue? How do you ever know if it’s wanted in that uneven situation?

    • @john mcd.,

      This paragraph on Sexual harassment in education is relevant:

      “The definition of sexual harassment includes harassment by both peers and individuals in a position of power relative to the person being harassed. In schools, though sexual harassment initiated by students is most common, it can also be perpetrated by teachers or other school employees, and the victim can be a student, a teacher, or other school employee. Sexual harassment of students by teachers or other school employees can cause particularly serious and damaging consequences for the victim.[4] While sexual harassment is legally defined as “unwanted” behavior, many experts agree[Who?] that even consensual sexual interactions between students and teachers constitutes harassment because, they say, the power differential creates a dynamic in which “mutual consent” is impossible.[2]”


      • @Bob, I know what constitutes sexual harrassment. Richardson obviously uses his position of power in the industry to gain something from some of his models who in everyday circumstances wouldn’t be inclined to accommodate him if he weren’t who he is. Just as, I am sure, there are other models who make a decision to do whatever is necessary with an unattractive guy they wouldn’t look at twice if he weren’t a powerful figure who can do them a lot of good in their careers. It happens all the time. There is definitely sexual harrassment taking place here, of the sort that would land him in a lot of trouble in the corporate world. But I think not all the women involved are victims, nor would they consider themselves such. Hard as it might be to take a stand that you think might end your career before it even begins, the women need to stand up to this kind of bullshit. If enough of them speak up about his behavior it will definitely have an effect.

        • @john mcd.,

          Seems to be some dissonance between your first post and the post above…

          “Mutual consent seems to be the operating principle here, so while he might be a creep he’s not a criminal”.

          “…constitutes harassment because, they say, the power differential creates a dynamic in which “mutual consent” is impossible.”

          Sexual harassment is a crime. A person consenting to be involved in a crime does not make it any less of a crime. That doesn’t matter if they think it does, or not.

  24. The girl I know who shot with him shot him down and he still shot her anyway and she had fun without touching him.

    At least that’s what she told me.

    What’s creepier to me is all the people trading sex for work behind the scenes, at least he’s upfront about it.

  25. He’s anything but a crappy photographer, he’s smart and he knows exactly what is doing which is provoking ppl such as Oliviero Toscani did in the past, and he has a great sense of humor. As far as the other stuff, if it is true , then choose not to work with him if his behavior is not to your liking.

  26. This speaks volumes about the diminishing role of assistants , maintaining a selection of clean cum towels is now a job requirement .

    • they also make sure he ‘gets the shot’

  27. Maybe there needs to be a “Megan’s Law” in NY, too.

    The guy’s obviously a total creep. AND a complete hack. It’s an astonishing comment on our society/culture that he is repeatedly rewarded (with high-paying, high-profile work) for being either, much less both…

    • @Cynthia Wood, totally agree. a creep and a hack. we should be asking ourselves why someone like that is so successful and popular.

      • @john mcd.,
        …and to think this very same society/culture was “shocked” and “outraged” by Sally Mann’s photographs of her own children (taken in the privacy of their own home)…accusing her of “child pornography” and the like.

        • What a bunch of crazy hypocrites we are!? (As a culture [if you can call it that]…not necessarily as individuals.)

  28. Ok.. I speak from a tad of experience with this.. I know an out of control addict when I see one. How? because well lets just say I have some first-hand experience with this – it takes an addict to see an addict.

    Terry Richardson is an addict – look at what he grew up with. Helllllo!
    His father is a known addict, his childhood doesn’t sound like is was a bundle of joy. Addiction runs in families. Richardson is a product of what he came from. But I know ultimately an addict has to say to themselves – “I’m an addict”, and decide what hey want to do about it.

    Everything about Richarson to me screammmms SEX ADDICT and God knows what else he is addicted to. I do know sex addiction is a progressive disease – so the whole model incident is Terry pushing the envelope in his addiction. If he doesn’t get help.. he will push more boundaries to get his high.

    Here is the sad thing. The clients that hire him perpetuate his shenanigans and lend legitimacy to the type of dysfunctional messages often portrayed in his images.

    Look at the photos he made of the Jackass crew. Steve-O was so wacked out on whatever he was huffing – but so many blind people will just turn a blind eye and chalk it up to theatrics when clearly the guy was sick.

    I see Terry in the same light. But if the guy is ever truely going to change his ways he will have to see an feel the insanity and pain he is causing. He will have to hit bottom – perhaps the best thing for him will to have some charges brought against him. Maybe– just maybe– he will get into some real recovery.

    • @Joe Blow,
      I don’t buy the whole ‘sex addiction’ excuse. Not that I doubt that there is such a thing but nowadays it’s mostly just an excuse for cheating husbands.
      TR is not a sex addict. He’s just a guy who likes to f*** models and he’s found a way to do it. Labelling him an addict is just a way to victimize the offender.

      Btw, anyone who visits his blog can see that he visits his psychiatrist quite often so I’m sure he’s aware of his behaviour.

      • @Joe Blow
        Thank you. Well stated.

        Whether you wish to buy into it or not, there are countless people addicted to one thing or another. Whether it’s gambling, coke, food, sex, smoking, or whatever, people feel powerless over their compulsions. Until sincere self evaluation and consistent change and commitment happens, they are not going to change.

        And many addicts need outside help. Why do the addicts continue in their feeding frenzy? They’re trying to fill an emotional hole, through using substances or acting out. If they are lucky enough, they come to realize that only genuine tough love can save them.

        And just because TR goes to therapy doesn’t mean that he’s conquered his demons.

        • @Paul,
          Sure, there are lots of people with addictions and I’m not saying there’s no such thing as a sex addiction.
          However, I’m not quite convinced that it’s really a compulsion in the case of TR. From the articles linked it seems like he’s very calculating in his behaviour. He seems to know exactly when and how to create an environment in which he can whip it out.

          From what I know people with real sex addictions often engage in their compulsory behaviour in a much more uncontrolled fashion up to the point where their social and professional life suffers severe consequences. This doesn’t seem to be the case with TR. I’m sure he can keep it in his pants just fine when he’s photographing big celebrities or when he’s on a big commercial job.

          I think rather than a sex addict he’s just an exploitative ass. I do think he’s a talented photographer, though.

          • @m,

            “…From the articles linked it seems like he’s very calculating in his behaviour…”

            Addicts can be very calculating, and can be some of the most charming and manipulative people around. These skills help them get what they want.

            Believe me when I say that because I think he’s an addict, this does not mean that I feel pity for the man. I feel more pity for the people who are easily titillated by his trend-driven presentation, when all along knowing that his actions are that of a weasel chump.

  29. More disturbing than one photographer being outed as a pervert (because there are many many perverts out there who are photographers) are the comments on different forums from people who find rape and sexual harassment to be just fine, because the models should “know” what they’re getting into.

    • @flashlightphotorent,

      That’s an excellent credo, and although I’m not religious, another one I recommend is: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

  30. I think anyone who calls Terry a hack photographer has no clue.
    I think he has many amazing images, and does great things in GQ, etc. It is often the freshest looking work in the whole book, IMO.

    However I think there is no place for sexual harassment or assault in a photo studio (or anywhere) and I think he will likely start to see a stream of law suits, like that American Apparel dude.

    And it is foolish for modeling agencies to send girls his way. They are asking for trouble. I would not be surprised to see some of the agencies get sued over this as well.

    • @ronno, You are entitled to your opinion. And the debate about whether he is a hack or not is just that… a debate and a matter of personal opinion. Some think he is a hack.. some don’t.

      I agree it is foolish for agencies to send models his way.

      • @Alfred, seems to me that a true hack would not have gotten as far as he has. Maybe our definitions are different. I think a hack is someone who knows nothing about the craft. That does not define Terry, IMO.

        • @ronno,

          There are lots of hacks that are “successful” and get farther along than most would ever expect, they just don’t stay around too long before they fall in on themselves. Terry’s world is built on a very week foundation, and he is “rocking the house” and taking huge risks pretty hard right now.. sooner or later the house is going to crumble.

  31. TR has problems that are not acceptable, also those that allow him exact his additction out on them have problems too.


  32. Should we as photographers– whose work shapes the way that the world is seen– focus exclusively on individual prerogative and financial success? I’ve read through many of the responses and put them into these positions:

    – TR is a successful, famous photographer and thus he is above scrutiny.

    – Models can’t be exploited because they are responsible for agreeing to the shoots and knowing who they are working with, based on the unstated belief that models, whether early or late in their career, have equal agency to famous photographers in negotiating shoots.

    – TR is an addict and his disease is out of control

    – Fashion is crazy. Sex is fun. Critics are just jealous of TR’s success.

    – TR is a douche and models should be protected

    But this is not only about Terry Richardson and Rie Rasmusse. There are structural paradigms that we all exist in and participate in as image makers. We don’t exist in a vacuum, simply creating our personal vision in some a-historical, completely individual way. And moreover, acting against the powerful dominant structure has consequences.

    The ‘opportunity’ for young, beautiful women to play the role as sexual, available, and accessible is nothing unique to photography, it has a very long history, we need only look to the tradition of Western art. European oil painting for example has a reoccurring theme of naked women. The way the women are posed and represented in these century old paintings has much in common with the work of Richardson, albeit his is more overtly pornographic. The same market rewards the Renaissance paintings of Tintoretto, Rubens and Bronzino as rewards Richardson. It is not the fact that the women are naked, it’s how they are naked. Always in submission to some viewer, who is a assumed to be male, they’re body turned towards the viewer to maximize his view. The woman’s face may be passive, or enthusiastic but it is always receptive. As in Richardson’s work there is room for the viewer to insert himself into the fantasy. With Richardson, it always comes back to his penis, http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2006/07/14/photography15707_wideweb__470x296,0.jpg Richardson is an extreme example but we see this all around us such as in the latest Diesel campaign. http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2010/diesel-be-stupid/

    As image makes we should be critical of the content of the images themselves, not simply how much money is being made or if someone lied or told the truth in their complaint. These images, as part of a broad visual narrative that is being created on so many fronts which in turn shapes the way men and women see themselves and relate to each other. Where is the critique of the images themselves? More than the degradation of an individual model, how do these images potentially degrade and demean young women who are then treated as sexual objects when they walk down the street, or perhaps more profoundly who see themselves as sexual objects as a direct result of what is reinforced in the marketing, advertising, music videos, and editorial images they see everywhere in our popular culture?

    As to the honesty of the models about working with Terry, I’m surprised that anyone would not be aware of the lecherous side of the fashion industry or moreover that sexual harassment would be pervasive in an industry that is both so male dominated and so unregulated on an interpersonal level. The fashion industry is rife with abuse of power, and photography in general in ironic contrast to corporate America, has few recourses for dealing with sexual harassment (or racism and homophobia) when it occurs. The power differences are so huge, and the ramifications for speaking out are very real. Photographers like TR, in my experience are untouchable to the vulnerable models and assistants they take advantage of. No, with Rie Rasmusse, he simply miscalculated on a supermodel. He though he could get away with it, and this time he was wrong. Typically, people like him are not lewd with equals, but rather those they know they manipulate. There is nothing shocking about this, it’s every day human nature stuff.

    So my question to us, as photographers, is first,

    Do we aknowledge that images have power to shape perception and affect the world?

    And if so,

    What images will we create?

    I recognize that we are all limited by financial, personal, social constraints, but if we are only concerned about our individual fame and financial gain, why should anyone care to look at our pictures? Of what value is our ‘vision’?

    Sophia Wallace

    • @Sophia Wallace, well written and well thought out, however, the fashion industry is not dominated by Terry R. or hetero males. I would say that photographers have much less influence than today than in, say, the pre-digital age. The most powerful and influential people in fashion are female or gay, sometimes even both. I rarely have a straight, male ad client, and very few fashion editors are male. Art directors at the big, influential fashion mags are mostly female. These AD’s shape the shoots, they provide the imagry, they provide the creative brief that generates the images that are as you argue harmful. Other than that, I agree with you on an intellectual level, although the villan in your narrative isn’t necessarily the MAN and his MALE GAZE.

    • @Sophia Wallace,


      As I read your words, I’m wondering how much of your thoughts are being supported by pre-existing beliefs, and how much by actuality.

      The photography market does not gainfully employee most photographers. I’d say something like 80% of those that graduate photography schools are not doing well, or may not even be practicing. In an environment like this, the woman that became art buyers may have made much better career choices than the (mostly male) photographers. Further, in academics in general women are kicking ass over men.

      As far as this: ” With Richardson, it always comes back to his penis, http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2006/07/14/photography15707_wideweb__470×296,0.jpg

      This is what appears to be a cow or other farm animal. Though you may wish to perceive it as something else.

      As long as you are going to critique the content of images in regard to how “we see ourselves”, why not focus on the entire *Consumer culture*? Or idealization in imagery? The ‘ideal’ is still the ideal regardless of who (or what) is on which side of the lens.

      “Do we aknowledge that images have power to shape perception and affect the world?”

      Do we all perceive images or anything else in the same way (or should/could we)?
      Do we all make the same “assumptions”?

      “Of what value is our ‘vision’?”

      Vision is fine. You don’t have to make a living with “vision”. You can do your *vision* as a hobby.
      The bottom line here: there are no free lunches. We all live with that gravity. That may not be satisfactory to your ideals but that is the way civilization works.

      btw – It’s my experience the fashion industry is far more gay (male) than hetro, and there are many women in the industry as well.

      Also aesthetics go back much farther than “Western Art” and may very well be genetically coded in our beings.

      In some cultures, it doesn’t matter who is the subject, or image maker. Images of *people* are verboten.

      Keep in mind, nobody chose their parents, era, culture, or location in which they were born (spiritual aside). We are to a large part products of things which we have had no control over.

  33. Why the hell are people defending his behaviour?

    I am no prude, I know what can and does go on behind the scenes, and I have no problem with that – as long as it is consensual.

    It is otherwise lewd and harassment – you can dress it up any way you wish or even pass it off with statements like “oh, he’s just eccentric”, but at the end of the day it’s unacceptable to treat people this way.

    If it was in a “normal” office environment, he’d be in deep shit, so why the hell should he be allowed to get away with it?

    And yes, it does make the rest of us look bad – we are already often portrayed as perverts or otherwise subhuman in TV shows, etc., we don’t need twits like him feeding this stereotype.

  34. @Donnar Party

    Exactly. There is no single villain in this story. It is much more complex than that. We all participate to varying degrees. And indeed, women and gay men participate and moreover, propel the very dynamics that are harmful to both groups.

    We are all living within the same dominant paradigm that is interested in this construction. Doesn’t anyone find it interesting that most photographers are men and most art buyers and photo editors are women? It’s not that women don’t go to art school and study photography. What about the fact that the fashion industry is openly supportive and embracing of gay men while gay women, particularly gay women whose gender identity not heteronormative are mostly invisible with a few notable and recent exceptions.

    John Berger in ‘Ways of Seeing’ says it much better than I can,

    ‘But the essential way of seeing women, the essential use to which their images are put, has not changed. Women are depicted in quite a different way from men – not because feminine is different from masculine– but because the ‘ideal’ spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter him’.

    • @Sophia Wallace,

      When I was in school I took a lot of critical theory classes. What I learned is that critical theory is like a stereotype: its mostly false but contains some bitter truths. So while I reject the thought that fashion is a male dominated power structuire like GE, I do think the larger paradigm of the culture is reflected in the output, especially fashion taht is closer to pure commerce on the art-commerce continiuum.

      I never bought Berger’s thought in Ways of Seeing, sinmply because I think that fertile young women are at the core of humanity, for men and women. Reproduction is as core a function as eating, and a beautiful, available fertile and healthy young woman probably touches something in our (both men and women) limbic system. I don’t think its all conditioning that makes a straight female admire the beauty of a beautiful woman. I think that denying this causes cognitive dissonance. If we could deny our core humanity, Modernism wouldn’t have been such a failure.

      Good talking to you Sophie. I enoy your thoughts.

      • @Donnar Party,

        Agreed. Most women, gay or straight, appreciate the inherent qualities and power of a beautiful woman.

  35. Someone who manipulates underage girls into performing sex acts is a predatory pedophile. It’s not complicated.

    He should be in jail.

    • @Grey,
      to play devil’s advocate :
      there hasn’t been any report yet on ‘underage girls’ having to perform sex acts.
      the claim that is being spread around the internet is from a model who was 19 in the states. and what’s underage to one country may not be underage to another…

    • @Reader,

      Amazing sensitivity!
      Still all about TR.

  36. so not only is he a bad photographer, but he’s a perv. oh wait, isn’t that what we already knew about him?

  37. well no shit! what did she expect? he is outwardly ruthless and everyone in the industry knows that. Im not saying I dont feel bad for the girl, but she cant blame him.

    • @john hildebrand,

      ” …. but she cant blame him.”

      Well, she can expose him, if he is a predator, (assuming the accusations are true), and then even more people will be informed. I think you have assumed that she, like “everyone in the industry” knew about his reputation. This is an unfair assumption.

  38. Out of the loop on this one.
    Seems like the crotch of Tiger Woods
    Married the attitude of Howard Stern.

  39. Amazing comment thread here. Terry Richardson is a fucking cunt who needs to keep his dick out of people’s faces. There might be some repercussion if we didn’t shrug it off as business as usual.

    In the same way that Bush is a war criminal, Richardson is a sexual predator. While the former won’t be brought to justice, the latter could be, if pressure is put on his clients.

    Money is all anyone understands, so let money talk.

  40. […] Elsewhere, a bunch of photographers argue whether Terry Richardson’s conduct is business as usual in the fashion industry.  Basically, everyone knows all about Richardson’s behavior, but they can’t agree on its significance. They can’t even agree on whether he’s a hack. […]

  41. a good friend of mine is a model and has a shoot with richard kern in a month or so, and now she’s freaked out that he’s “like this too”. i dont know what to say. i suppose the two men’s reputations are separate, but they are friends and have similar styles.

    • @Dan, i think it’s unfair to link kern with terry just b/c they both shoot similar stuff. they are very different. i’d hate to see terry drag down anyone else’s rep…

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