“It’s not who you know, it’s who you blow”

That seems to be a really nice person who said this sentence don’t you think? Well this famous quote comes from the hugely controversial fashion photographer Terry Richardson, who is not only famous for the pictures he takes, but also from how these pictures are taken.

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Richardson is called the inventor of porno chic and he is further known for his non-celebrity pictures, largely using young, unknown models, that are often pornographic.

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This becomes evident when looking at his contact form on his website, where it says:

Hello if you are 18 or older, male or female, and wish to pose nude or topless for an upcoming project, please contact…

But when is something a style of photography and when does it become porn and harassment?

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In the past Richardson was repeatedly accused of sexual harassing young women modeling for him. Although nothing has been proven just yet there are several accounts stating that he harassed women. Models such as Rie Rasmussen stated “he takes girls who are young, manipulates them to take their clothes off and takes pictures of them they will be ashamed of.” Okay I have to admit here you could say that it is still the decision of the models to take their clothes off but I don’t think this sounds like a dream work environment does it? Another model who spoke out against Richardson was the 19-year-old model Jamie Peck who described the pornographic scenes happening during shoots (I will not go into the dirty details).

Still the question is how can it be that a photographer, who has been accused of sexual harassment several times in the past is still one of the most successful celebrity and fashion photographers of the world?

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People that accused Richardsen claim that it is his great influence in the fashion industry. Or do the big magazines and companies just don’t care? On the other hand how credible are the allegations really? A wise sentence in Latin says: In dubio pro reo. For now we can only say for sure that Richardson is the master when it comes to fading away the lines between pornography and fashion advertising. Anything else has yet to be found out…

Emily Ratajkowski shot by Me for GQ

By Maria Freundlieb

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