Tall, tattooed, and wielding nothing but a small snapshot camera that’s the butt of many jokes, Terry Richardson has proved time and time again that it is not the camera that makes the art, but the vision of the artist. Unlike the majority of fashion photographers, Terry works without entourage, plans, or cumbersome lenses, tripods, and reflectors. Yet despite opting out on sophistication and state-of-the-art lenses, Terry has shot campaigns for fashion moguls such as H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, and Gucci armed with nothing but a camera suited for children.
The 49 year old was born on August 14th, 1965. His father was the noted Bob Richardson, a famous fashion photographer who struggled with schizophrenia and drug abuse. Originally a native of New York City, Terry moved to Ojai, California with his mother, actress Norma Kessler, after his parents split up. At the time California was buzzing with new sounds and music, punk, rising up from the underground, was the king of the scene. Terry originally had ambitions of being a punk rock musician, and he spent four years playing bass guitar for He the punk rock band The Invisible Government. But in 1982, after Richardson’s mother gave him his first snapshot camera, his fate was settled. He used that very camera to document his life and the punk rock scene in Ojai. Not long after he moved back to New York, settling in the East Village. Snaps of New York City’s nightlife and the young and rich partying brought the budding photographer to his first real ‘gig’ with Vibe in 1994.
From there fame followed. His work was premièred at Paris’s International Festival de la Mode, further landing him an advertising campaign for fashion designer Katherine Hammnett. And the ball started rolling. He moved to London, where he worked for European fashion magazines such as The Face and Arena
Since then he’s worked for some of the most famous fashion brands and designers such as Marc jacobds, Sisley, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and the highly celebrated Gucci. His work has also appeared in magazines such as Rolling Stone, GQ, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vice.
Terry Richardson has certainly made his name in the fashion world. But his talent has not only filled magazines and solo exhibitions, snapped portraits of Barrack Obama and Lebron James, but it has also brought Terry to the music industry where he has directed music videos such as “Wrecking Ball” for Miley Cyrus, Beyonce’s single “XO”, “Do What U Want” by Lady Gaga, and recently Taylor’s “The Last Time”. In fact, Lady Gaga announced in 2012 Terry has been filming a documentary about her life, though the date of its premier has not been decided.
For all his fame and notoriety, Terry has also given back. For many years he has been involved with RxArt, a charity that donates art to children’s hospitals, and earlier this year in 2014, he participated in a charity egg sponsored by the House of Fabergé to benefit Studio in a School, an arts program that provides materials for under privileged classrooms.
You can also check out a lot of Terry’s day to day work on Tumblr. But he’s also got plenty that you can find in his Amazon book.