Terry Richardson: Fashion’s Worst Kept Secret

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Photographs not property of Corinne&  Words by Elizabeth Pollard

What will it take for the fashion industry to take moral responsibility for some of it’s most famous representatives. Last week, Terry Richardson was accused, once again, for sexually harassing a model, by trying to exchange explicit images (taken by him of course) for a shoot in US Vogue. Richardson, however, is innocent in this case, as confirmed by Facebook, but does that wipe his sordid plate clean?

Let’s forget for a minute, that numerous other models have come forward with similar allegations that have not been cleared, and ask ourselves “since when was porn high fashion?”. As someone who has worked for one of the biggest titles in mens magazines, I am no prude to girls prancing around in their undies (although there is a debate to be had), but it’s the sheer aggressive nature of Richardson’s photographs that make me uncomfortable with his work.

Richardson is photographed straddling models, sticking his thumb in their mouths and with ‘Terry’ Badges on their nipples. You could argue that the glamour industry has an element of balance between the girls and their audience, but with Terry, it feels like a sex game and they are his slaves. So I ask the question again, why does the fashion industry turn away from this onslaught of abuse? I am sorry to say, however, that I can’t even contemplate an answer. My adolescent-fashion-industry life has already heard countless rumours of some of the world’s richest, and most famous, photographers exploiting their hopeful muses. Take for example, Ms Moss, who recently shed light on her own traumatic experience whilst shooting her breakthrough campaign for Calvin Klein. She was told; if she did not disrobe, she would never get booked again!

Whatever the reason for their determined ignorance, let’s hope that by making an example of Terry Richardson, the industry can progress without sexual exploitation.


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