Terry Richardson, photographer/provocateur extraordinaire, is making headlines again. He’s known for his trademark flannel, creeper ‘stache, and old school glasses, which his subjects often wear while aping his trademark “thumbs up”. He’s shot for all the major glossies, from GQ to Harper’s Bazaar and takes his work from editorial to commercial. He’s also the man behind many of portraits of the cultural watersheds of our time – Lady Gaga, Beyonce, President Obama to name a few – not to mention the creative force behind Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video – talk about provocateur!!
But it’s not Wrecking Ball that’s garnering headlines – instead, Richardson just lost a major advertising campaign because of his controversial subject matter. Richardson just got dropped by bougie fitness club Equinox, where his ad campaign featured really, really good looking, very fit, and mostly naked people.
Now he’s the subject of a petition started by a young woman named Alice Ehrenfried from Southhampton, UK, who is urging brands like H&M and publications like Vogue to stop using Richardson’s work, given the sexual objectification of the models, as well as the multiple sexual harassment claims made against Richardson.
For years, his controversial shooting tactics and notoriously sexual subject matter has been his accepted (and readily recognizable) work within the fashion and art worlds.It’s par for the course for a photographer like Richardson, but the fact that a major business like Equinox dropped Richardson mid-campaign and that H&M responded via Twitter that if the sexual offense allegations were true, it would be “totally unacceptable” to them and reiterated that they were currently not working with Richardson, signals that there may be a change in the water for Richardson.