Terry Richardson : The Sacred and The Profane
While today we see him less and less in his signature flannel shirt, at 49, Terry Richardson has held onto his characteristic look: the thumbs up, the moustache, the side burns and the aviator glasses. And as always, the cheeky smile: that of a child caught in the act.
Terry Richardson is a provocateur par excellence, a man obsessed with sex. A trashy updated version of “porno chic” popularised by Helmut Newton. His portraits of models and stars in very little clothing against a blank white wall rocketed him to fame.
From Nicki Minaj to Miranda Kerr, Cara Delevingne to Beyoncé and Jaret Leto to Madonna, everyone reveals themselves in front of Terry Richardson who has cultivated a scandalous reputation as an underground master.
His work inundates magazines, from advertisements to cover pages (Harper’s Bazaar, Lui, Purple, Rolling Stone). He has also directed several music videos; surely the most subversive and famous of the last few years is former Disney star Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” in which Cyrus swings back and forth, naked on a wrecking ball.
Is Terry Richardson more subdued today? He certainly gives this impression on the day we met at Perrotin Gallery in Paris. He is in the French capital for the opening of his exhibition “The Sacred and the Profane”, a series of photos taken on and around American highways the photographer traversed over the last two years. From this journey, Richardson brings us the cliches of a dualistic America, quasi-schizophrenic and lost between hypocritical moralism and excessive sexuality.