I don’t really know where to start with this one. You all know the story by now as it seems to be everywhere you look – blogs, papers, magazines and talk shows. Oh the scandal, a fashion photographer that has had sex with his models. I’m sorry, is this really anything new?
Let me first say, we don’t at all support Terry Richardson and are sickened by the majority of new stories that have come out in the past ten days. However, we have heard all of these stories before and we have heard them in connection with some of the biggest names in fashion photography. Surprisingly, none have ever attracted as much attention as the current Richardson story.
Having modeled and worked with some of the world’s leading photographers I have to say that a fashion photographer’s job is actually to put you in a place where you give them the sexiest look possible. Sex sells. There is no way around that. We, as consumers, demand it so photographers and magazines have to supply it. So what came first, the chicken or the egg?
The fashion photographer treads a very thin line in what is appropriate when it comes to photographing their models. You have to make the person sitting for you comfortable and they need to trust you. If you take a look at Terry’s photographs you will not see one woman has a look of terror on her face. In fact, they all look so comfortable you would think their boyfriend was taking their picture.
What makes this such a sensitive issue today? Well, it could have something to do with the fact that the majority of today’s successful models are 18 or younger. They are barely legal and therefore these sort of situations where one thing can lead to another are actually situations that become a crime. It might also have something to do with the fact that women have come so far in the past 50 years and worked so hard to be respected and not thought of as objects.
But ladies, I have news for you. We are the only ones holding ourselves back. I am no different. Every month I spend hundreds of pounds on the latest fashion magazines which tell me I’m not skinny enough, not stylish enough and way too old to try to correct either problem. Yet I am obsessed. I flip through the pages of Vogue (from every country that publishes) and I try to do whatever I can to replicate the looks presented. And I will keep buying these magazines. Nothing will change that. So essentially I am telling Vogue, and all other glossy magazines, that I am happy with the women they are putting on the pages of their publication. So the magazines will continue to hire photographers like Terry Richardson, regardless of his reputation, to keep sales up.
What’s the point here? There isn’t one really. It’s just to say that instead of attacking Terry Richardson we have to look at the bigger picture here. The change needs to happen a lot higher up on the food chain…