Terry Richardson, that weirdo photographer, is getting a lot of hate since being accused of exploiting his models. It began last week with the words of model Rie Rasmussen: “He takes girls who are young, manipulates them to take their clothes off and takes pictures of them they will be ashamed of. They are too afraid to say no because their agency booked them on the job and are too young to stand up for themselves.”
Days later “occasional cheesecake” Jamie Peck shared her story. Peck explains that Richardson is creep who looks like a hipster pedophile and is into menstrual tea: He asked if he could play with her soaked tampon. Then he got naked and with the help of his assistant pressured Peck into giving him a hand job.
Jamie Peck writes, “This man has built his business/pleasure empire on breaking the cardinal rule of asking a young girl you don’t know to come over to your house and hang out naked: don’t be a fucking creep.”
All photographers shooting nudes must be sinners.
Jezebel absolves Peck of her consent, “Given the power differential that exists between Richardson, who is old, wealthy, regarded as an artist, and vastly influential, and most of his model subjects, can the consent of these women even be said to be freely given?” Clayton Cubitt disagrees, ”Can only young models shoot young models? Can Third World subjects not consent to pose for First World journos? Absurdity.”
Others say Richardson’s actions are not shocking. He has always been open about sleeping with his models; his personality is well-known in the industry. In an interview for The New York Observer Richardson said, ”A lot of it starts with me saying to a girl, ‘Do you want to do nudes?’ And they’re like, ‘I don’t want to be naked,’ …. So I say, ’ I’ll be naked and you take the pictures. You can have the camera. You can have the phallus.’ …. And since I’m in so many of the pictures, aren’t I objectifying myself a bit?”
An abashed society makes a character like Terry Richardson improper. We can’t expect him to be “normal”. Why should he be? He’s going to strip at his own photo shoots, ”He’ll photograph his dick and anyone else’s,” and be frank about sex and do obscene things: ”I have hundreds of images of me just coming on different rugs in different hotel rooms.”
Terry Richardson hasn’t responded to the accusations; so it’s a one-sided show right now. If Jamie Peck is being completely sincere and Richard did pressure her, then, yeah, Terry Richardson was being an inconsiderate jerk. Even so, neither party is perfect. We were taught to overcome peer-pressure in middle school.
Rei Rasmussen’s remarks are less convincing. They’re not far from anti-porn rants.
Update: Terry Richardson responds.
Might have to write more on this…
See follow up: Richardson Continued…