The Subversive Mind of Bob Richardson

Last Friday, this writer composed a little diatribe in something of support about copywriter Magnus Jakobsson’s article, “Sex is Dead! Good News!” which, in part, was all about the photographer, Terry Richardson. The essay, itself, is all in favor of, but we randomly came across an amazing piece of writing about time spent with Bob Richardson, Terry’s father and also a photographer, before his death this year, which made this writer go back and reevaluate his thinking about all of this. In short, the essay paints a picture of a guy who “got” the industry and taught his son how to succeed in it. It’s a terrific read and one certainly checking out. Here’s a bit:

I was, of course, interested in how Terry got where he got, and Bob told me: “All these fashion editors are obsessed with sex, so I told Terry to send them some pictures every few weeks that were so sexual they could never publish them. Just some prints from the one hour lab, and write your name and number on the back in pencil or something. And you keep sending those and after a while they did respond and he got a job from Details magazine. And I told him to not tone it down, make the actual shoot just as sexy, and they’ll ask you to reshoot it, and then you have to say no. And then they’ll come back again anyway, because they always want something they can’t have.” This kind of insight into the twisted logic of the fashion industry was why I had wanted to meet Bob. The whole lesson was more like a session with a psychiatrist. There was kind of a Prince of Darkness thing going with Bob, like he’s Darth Vader and you’re Luke, and he wants you to come over to the Dark Side.