Musings: Terry Richardson, Dhaka, and Idgie Threadgoode

Thread-related fixations of the past week

Terry Richardson

terry richardson miley cyrus
Terry Richardson with Miley Cyrus (in one of the most tame images from their shoot together). Source: Terry’s Diary

Fashion and portrait photographer Terry Richardson shoots for the likes of GQ, Vogue, and even Barack Obama. Well-known for his “amateur aesthetic” (read: white wall + frontal flash) and the popularization of the “70s porn aesthetic,” Richardson has been making news recently for his controversial photos of Miley Cyrus.

Even before shooting with Miley, however, Richardson had gained a reputation as a bit of a scumbag, with allegations of sexual harassment leveled at him by multiple models with whom he has worked. Regardless of the allegations, however, industry giants have continued to work with Richardson.

I’d never been much of a fan of him, even before I was aware of Terry’s controversial history—the washed out, flattened look of his flash-lit photos was enough to turn me off; combine that with misogynistic portrayals of women as sex objects and I’m officially disenchanted. But after reading up on him this past week and seeing some seriously disturbing photos of Terry interactions with his models, I can’t help but be even more appalled by his work.

There’s currently an internet petition circulating that asks big brands to stop working with Terry (the links at the bottom of that petition are incredibly effective in their photographic explicitness; be warned). Though I’m somewhat suspicious of anything that tries to bring about change through internet hype (Kony 2012, anyone?), I’m having a hard time ignoring all of this long enough to forget about it.

Dhaka

bangladesh factory building collapse
Source: Getty

Remember the discussion about the Bangladesh garment factory collapse and its accompanying moral dilemmas in April? It turns out that despite all the media hubbub that followed the tragedy, frustratingly little has really been done to make progress towards improving conditions in overseas factories. Business of Fashion reported that “not a single Bangladeshi garment factory has been inspected under any of the three programs that sprang from the promises” of Western clothing companies to push for change. In fact, a recent fire in another Bangladeshi factory providing garments to Western companies (Wal-Mart this time) killed nine workers.

Though some factories have been shut down for safety reasons, thereby protecting their workers from physical harm, the progress is limited. Without open factories, garment workers can’t work, and even being compensated for the standard hours expected isn’t enough for some who rely on overtime and weekend pay just to make ends meet.

Read more from Business of Fashion’s report here, or view photos of the initial collapse here.

Idgie Threadgoode

idgie threadgoode fashion fried green tomatoes
Source: Ginnybranch

On a lighter note, my roommates tricked me into watching Fried Green Tomatoes this week by switching it out at the last minute with a film I had agreed to watch. I didn’t have time to be miffed for long before Idgie Threadgoode’s tomboyish wardrobe won me over. Watch the whole movie for more of her great looks here, and you’ll get a narrative centering around friendship (instead of the standard romance-obsessed Hollywood fare) and a collection of strong female characters to boot.

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