Terry Richardson

Born: New York, U.S., 1965



Terry Richardson was born in New York in 1965 and raised in Hollywood.

He is the son of the famous photographer Bob Richardson and of Annie, a stylist and former Copacabana dancer. After the divorce, his father married a 17 years old model and his mum had an affair with Jimmy Hendrix. Soon after, Richardson fell ill and began hearing voices. Photography is said to have been the mean that helped him escape his tyrannical father.

He grew up on the West Coast with a group of punks from Los Angeles and joined the Underground scene of East Village in the early 1900s whilst attending Hollywood High School. In 1992 he moved to New York where he began documenting the East Village art and what was happening there in terms of fashion and music with most of his work being shot in bars, in nightclubs, on the street or in apartments.

From then on he never stopped taking pictures and is today considered as one of the most prolific photographers of his time.

He has worked on many important fashion campaigns for brands including Gucci, Sisley, Miu Miu, Chloé, and his work has been published in many high profile magazines amongst which the French and British editions of Vogue Magazine, i-D Magazine, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar and Purple for which he shot celebrities such as Daniel Day Lewis, Tom Ford, Leonardo DiCaprio, Vincent Gallo, Kanye West, Johnny Knoxville, Jay Z., Karl Lagerfeld, Vincent Gallo and Pharell Williams, to only name a few.

He published his first book “Hysteric Glamour” in 1998, the beginning of a long series. Always provocative, he likes to take pictures of nudes and soft pornography, using and abusing of sex and provocation. He says he barely ever uses Photoshop as he believes a good picture must be taken with a model looking natural.

His work has been showed and reviewed internationally. He has exhibited at the Shine Gallery in New York, at the Kinstwerk in Berlin, and at the Alleged Gallery and Deitch Projects in New York.

In September 2011, Terry Richardson and Carine Roitfeld, the fashion editor, hosted a joint book launch at Colette in Paris. In 2012, Richardson had his first solo exhibition titled “Terrywood” at Los Angeles’s OHWOW Gallery. His fame grew when a video of model Kate Upton performing the Cat Daddy dance for him in his studio went viral. He also announced that he was filming a documentary about Lady Gaga’s life.

Richardson’s work is characterised by several recurring themes, such as placing high-profile celebrities in ordinary settings and using simple techniques like instant cameras for photography. His art explores themes of sexuality, often featuring full-frontal nudity and simulated or actual sexual acts in his books “Kibosh” and “Terryworld.” Initially, many of his subjects were photographed against a white background, but he later expanded to use other backdrops.

Richardson is known for posing with his subjects and sometimes giving them his trademark glasses to “pretend to be him.” He also dresses some subjects, like actress Chloë Sevigny, to resemble himself. He cites Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus, and Robert Frank as early influences on his artistic style, and his work has received praise from Helmut Newton.

Describing his style, Richardson said he aims to capture unpremeditated moments when people’s sexualities come to the surface. Besides his provocative work, he is also known for his nonsexual portraiture, having taken portraits of various celebrities and politicians.

Terry Richardson Biography

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Written by Marine Lazarus

Marine Lazarus, an Anglo-French photographer who moved to UK 3 years ago to study journalism at Brunel University in London. Marine is responsible for our Photographers Biographies section.

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