“We traffic in women’s bodies.”


General Culture, General Photography

Given my general lack of interest in fashion photography, I might not be the best person to write about the following. That said, since that lack to a pretty large extent is based on exactly what has been gaining quite a bit of exposure across the internet over the past few days I don’t think I should remain silent. See Rob’s take on it here. (more)

Given I’m not following the fashion circus, pardon I mean circuit, I have been trying to reconstruct this, so please excuse anything I might be missing. In any case, it all seems to have started with supermodel Rie Rasmussen (I’ll happily admit I have no idea who she is) calling out fashion photographer Terry Richardson in front of some fashion crowd in Paris (story). Subsequently - I’m omitting one fairly irrelevant step here - Jamie Peck (“I’m not a model, just a vain girl with nice tits who likes to pose for the occasional cheesecake photo.” - actual quote) wrote about her experience with a couple of fashion shoots with Richardson. This got then picked up by jezebel.com, from where where it has been snowballing, leading to Fashion’s Raunchiest Photog (which provided me with the title of this post); plus to follow-ups such as this one from NY Magazine’s blog and this one from Hearty Magazine’s blog.

I’m still trying to shake a head cold, so writing this post has taken longer than expected. And the one-two combination of seeing some of the comments under Rob’s post and watching an episode of America’s Next Top Model on TV last night (which felt like it was transmitted from a parallel universe) made me erase everything I had written everything after the last paragraph. A couple of quotes might really be just enough.

In Fashion’s Raunchiest Photog, a “fashion world insider” is quoted as saying

“This is an industry filled with crazy people and big personalities. The boundaries are different than they are in a purely corporate enterprise. It’s not IBM, it’s a business with beautiful girls, sex, and malfeasance. To single out one person as some sort of ringleader is absurd. We traffic in women’s bodies.”
Just take that in for a while.

And at Salon.com, Kate Harding write

“The anonymous insider might be right to say Richardson shouldn’t be singled out, but I’m pretty sure the argument that there are many unethical fashion professionals doing sketchy things with girls and very young women doesn’t actually justify that behavior. A reasonable person might even think that makes it worse — because it means that those who run the business (hint: not the models) are creating unsafe work environments for people whose careers depend on pleasing them. […] And so people in the industry continue to condone flagrant sexual harassment — framing it as the expected behavior of ‘crazy people and big personalities’ and the natural consequence of having ‘beautiful girls’ in the workplace — and claiming the fact that everybody knows it’s happening somehow makes it OK. And so people pretend the real issue here is art vs. prudishness, that any objection to Richardson’s alleged behavior is about his taking nudie pictures at all, instead of about his getting naked himself and asking the models to get him off while they’re on the job.”

I have nothing to add to that.