Flip that coin, pick that side.
The first argument is against Terry Richardson. Terry is a highly influential, therefore powerful man in the ultra competitive fashion industry. When Terry has shot recently with every celeb you can name, just 5 minutes with him could change your career. You’re nervous and excited, but you’re not an idiot. So when he asks you to undress, you think of your standards and say no. But he disarms you, he hands you the camera and undresses. He’s suddenly rather vulnerable, and close. He’s working, his teams working. And you’re caught up in the middle of. You don’t say no to anything, shit just gets weird, and by the end of the shoot you’re half undressed, and after a wine you’re not sure how that whole thing went, but you won’t let it happen again.
Flip that coin.
Terry is a professional photographer known for his provocative shoots. In a scene where androgyny is in and thin tall women rule the well lit pages of every mag, Terry fucks shit up. You want celebs, and he has them raw. You want your product and it’s delivered not glimmering but out in the world, in a setting that’s familiar but beyond the ordinary. You can see the party that went on when you get your photos back, and the kids will eat this up. He gets the photos he promised.
The closest I can relate is that there’s this phenomenon that happens in crowded places. Take a busy street. When there’s so many people, you don’t see people, just obstacles between you and where you need to be. There’s nothing human you can empathise with. Another example is a concert. With 1000 other people wanting to get to the stage, people pushing and pulling, a little tipsy, a little dehydrated, an elbow in the chest doesn’t seem like that big a deal, somebody jumping on your head is crap but expected.
Our mental perceptions under altered conditions or excitement change dramatically. That’s what happens here. You’re with Terry and his crew, and even for the big names who are used to it they go beyond their comfort zones. Of course you wouldn’t strip down to little, spit fluids, or flash your chest in public. Like at a concert where you scream, push, and dance.
We could be talking about blurred lines, or we could be talking about changing your mind after the fact. The important thing isn't really to take a side on what Terry is doing, but to be aware of the issues in general and how they apply to you and those around you.