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Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

Terry Richardson is an american fashion photographer. He is the artist behind each of the “erotic advertisements” found on Dr. Strangelove’s website, and his name is popping up everywhere.  This man has done ad campaigns for many different companies in the fashion industry. Some examples of work that can be found on his resume are ads for Gucci, Levi’s, Miu Miu, Eres, Tommy Hilfiger, Club Monaco, Supreme, Hugo Boss, Anna Molinari, Stussy, Baby Phat, Jigsaw, Costume National, Hysteric Glamour, Matsuda, and Sisley. He has also done editorial work for many different magazines including Vogue, V, Nylon and many others. He is also the man behind the banner on this blog.

So why am I writing about Mr. Richardson? Well, first of all, he is one of my favourite photographers and buy overpriced imported magazines just for the few glossy shots belonging to him that the magazine contains. Secondly, he is a perfect example of the aspect of High Culture vs. Low Culture being present in the year 2010. Although it has been said that these views are old fashioned and insignificant in the present times, they are still followed.

There is a difference between erotica and pornography. Pornography is categorized into Low Culture (along with other things like pop music, action movies and Gossip Girl novels), and Erotica is categorized into High Culture (with Mozart, French Cinema and Jane Austin novels). As discussed in class, for a long time low/pop culture was considered horrible. Today, though high culture and pop culture are intertwined.  Rich people are listening to Michael Jackson, people living in poorer conditions are listening to Bach. Terry Richardson‘s ad campaigns epitomize this.

Richardson’s photography (outside of ads as well as regarding them), consists of  naked people doing obscure things, snap shots of girls on their knees in front of a man depicting a scene of oral sex (which was probably occurring when the photo was taken), people having sex, men dressed up as Batman and Robin giving each other oral sex among other obscene themes.  As seen on Dr. Strangelove‘s website and in this banner, there is a high level of obscenity in his ads as well, (the banner is a Tom Ford ad). Richardson has mastered the art of merging high and low culture together, and he is finally being recognized appropriately, or almost.

As an artist Terry Richardson is entitled to photograph whatever he wants, without boundary. So why is it impossible to find his photography books in any of the Chapters, Galleries, or even the independent store Canteen on Dalhousie that hosts art shows and sells books relating to art and photography that are a rare find in one of the bigger chains in the city? It is even hard to find his books in Toronto and Montreal which are cities that are considered to be more open-minded/artsy than Ottawa. I have been to many different little shoppes, every chapters I’ve laid eyes on, even in New York I had a hard time finding any copies of his books. Yes, the content of them is obscure and obscene, but there are many other artists who have also produced questionable art that was accepted. The pornography aspect is still considered low culture/taboo by most people, so as for now, Terry Richardson is too.

As his talent becomes more appreciated ( he is now being compared to other artists such as Nan Gordin and Juergen Teller) and his name becomes more familiar, we can only hope that his work will become more accessible.

– Gillian Holloway

ps: I have decided to include some of Terry Richardson’s ad campaigns here at the bottom:

for Princess Tam Tam

for Sisley

for Sisley

for Jimmy Choo

For Sisley

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