Terry Richardson is an internationally known photographer having captured some of the most prominent pop stars, models and political figures out today from President Barack Obama to Jay-Z. He is best known for his raw street shots and sexually suggestive portraits shot on a white background with high flash. Richardson has been commissioned by countless magazines including Rolling Stone, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, French Vogue and British Vogue. He has also been the creative eye behind the lens of fashion advertisement campaigns for Gucci, Yves St. Laurent, Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu and Chloe. His work is on display across the coffee tables of homes and on the walls of dorm rooms everywhere and he’s even published a few books of photography with major art publisher Taschen.
Terry Richardson is the son of renown fashion photographer Bob Richardson and dancer Norma Richardson (who later changed her name to Annie). He was born in New York City in 1965 but started moving around shortly after his parents divorced when he was 10. As a result, he spent most of his childhood in the Southern California neighborhoods of Hollywood and Ojai. His life in California was a polar opposite from the glitz and glamorous lifestyle he had been swept in to by his parents. Shortly after his parents divorce (and his mother re-married), his mother Annie was in a car accident that caused her permanent brain damage though not severe. The accident caused the family to suffer financially and be on welfare.
For a young Terry Richardson the sudden changes occuring in his life caused him to turn to punk music and drugs. At the age of 15, Richardson began playing in various punk bands– the most prominent of these bands being the Invisible Government. In 1989 Richardson began his start in photography by working as an assistant to photographer Tony Kent, a fashion photographer who had previously been an assistant to Richardson’s father. When he wasn’t helping Tony Kent with lights and sets, Richardson was getting gigs shooting portraits for the Hollywood-based gay lifestyle magazine The Advocate. In the early 90’s, Bob Richardson reached out to his son and encouraged Terry to live with him because he felt he could mold Terry into a better photographer.
A short time after reuniting, the two set up shop back in New York City as The Richardson’s but that only lasted six months. It was the fashion editorial piece the duo were offered by VIBE magazine that set them apart and where Terry really began to create his signature in the photography world. Terry felt more connected to VIBE’s urban audience and so the night before the shoot he called his father to let him know that this was a job he needed to do alone. Bob obliged (though not kindly) and Terry’s first editorial for VIBE was a success as it went on to win the Festival de la Mode ‘Best New Fashion Story’ of the year award. He was no longer the son of famous fashion photographer Bob Richardson or former assistant to international fashion photographer Tony Kent. He became award-winning photographer Terry Richardson and the rest is history still being made.
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