Terry Richardson is an American fashion and portrait photographer. He was born in New York City, the son of Norma Kessler
, an actress, and Bob Richardson
, a fashion photographer who struggled with schizophrenia and drug abuse. Richardson's father was Irish Catholic and his mother is Jewish. Following the divorce of his parents, Richardson moved to Woodstock, New York, with his mother and stepfather, English guitarist Jackie Lomax
. Richardson later moved to the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, where he attended Hollywood High School. He moved with his mother to Ojai, California, where he attended Nordhoff High School when he was 16. Richardson originally wanted to be a punk rock musician rather than a photographer. He played bass guitar in the punk rock band The Invisible Government for four years. Terrence Richardson played bass for a variety of other punk bands in Southern California including Signal Street Alcoholics
, Doggy Style
, Baby Fist
, and Middle Finger
Richardson's mother reportedly gave him his first snapshot camera in 1982, which he used to document his life and the punk rock scene in Ojai. In 1992, Richardson quit music and moved to the East Village neighborhood of New York City, where he began photographing young people partying and other nightlife. It was in New York City that he had his first "big break."
His first published fashion photos appeared in Vibe
in 1994. His Vibe spread was shown at Paris' International Festival de la Mode later that year. Following the showing, Richardson shot an advertising campaign for fashion designer Katharine Hamnett's spring 1995 collection. The campaign was noted for images of young women wearing short skirts with their pubic hair showing.
Throughout his career, Richardson has shot the campaigns of fashion brands and designers such as: Marc Jacobs, Aldo, Supreme, Sisley, Tom Ford, and Yves Saint Laurent. He has also worked for magazines such as Rolling Stone
, Vanity Fair
, and Harper's Bazaar
Richardson has produced several campaigns for Diesel, including the 'Global Warming Ready' which won a Silver Lion for Print at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in 2007. He has produced several private portraits for the company's founder, Renzo Rosso. In September 2011, they hosted a mutual book launch together with fashion editor Carine Roitfeld, at Colette in Paris.
In 2012 Richardson embarked on his first solo exhibition at Los Angeles's OHWOW Gallery, titled Terrywood
. In May 2012, a video of model Kate Upton
performing the Cat Daddy dance for Richardson in his studio went viral. In December 2012, Lady Gaga
announced that Richardson was filming a documentary about her life. Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes defended Richardson in 2004, saying his work was criticized by "first-year feminist"
There are several repeating themes in Richardson's work, notably that of putting high-profile celebrities in mundane situations and photographing them using traditionally pedestrian methods, such as the use of an instant camera. His work also explores ideas of sexuality, with many of the pieces featured in his books Kibosh and Terryworld depicting full-frontal nudity and both simulated and actual sexual acts. Initially, many of Richardson's subjects would be shot before a white background but he eventually expanded to other backdrops. He is also known for posing with his subjects, often giving them his trademark glasses so they may "pretend to be him"
or, in the case of actress Chloë Sevigny
, posing them in makeup and costume so that they look like him. Richardson counts Larry Clark
, Nan Goldin
, Diane Arbus
and Robert Frank
as early influences on his artistic style. His work has been praised by Helmut Newton
Richardson described his style as, "Trying to capture those unpremeditated moments when people's sexualities come up to the surface."
Richardson is also known for his nonsexual portraiture. He has taken portraits of a wide variety of celebrities and politicians. Since 2001, Richardson has been accused by multiple models of sexual misconduct. In 2017, brands and magazines that had worked with Richardson in the past began distancing themselves from him, and said they would no longer employ him. He has not actively worked as a photographer since 2018.