Tomorrow’s creatives – today’s students have powerful voices too!

Our last blog, by co-founder Caryn Franklin, charts the Pornification of Fashion debate after her recent i-D feature.

As it kicks off we are learning our that All Walks lectures have IMPACT too. After our recent visit to Colchester School of Art, here’s what student Laura Ashley Douglas has to say.

If Anna Wintour, Tom Ford and Carine Rotfield know this man is a pornographer, why do they use him? Terry Richardson is a prominent fashion photographer within the fashion industry; his work is widely used in fashion campaigns for H&M, Supreme, Tom Ford, Gucci, and published in Vogue. Except his imagery is less ‘fashion’ and more ‘pornographic’ and it’s easily accessible to anyone through his personal Tumblr account.

He sending out a message to young, impressionable girls and boys that fashion is directly connected with pornographic culture. Richardson’s work is tacky, lacking intellect and degrading. I don’t wish to see images of young models performing sexual acts on the PHOTOGRAPHER himself.

It’s not hard to understand why anyone who is interested or involved in fashion industry is deemed superficial or unintelligent when we allow imagery like this to represent our industry. Is this really the state of high fashion campaigns in 2013? If so, I don’t want to be ‘in’ Fashion.

Go to the Tumblr web page and type in ‘Terry Richardson’ and see for yourself a portfolio of sexual imagery that remains unfiltered and accessible to ANYONE. These are images that promote young models in suggestive poses and engaging in sexual acts. The images include the photographer himself dominating and engaging in sexual acts with models and young females.

The target demographic of social media websites is teenagers, Instagram and Facebook a network of young people, despite regulations it is easy enough for children to create a profile on these networks. Hence this imagery becomes far easier to access, on websites like Tumblr in particular. Terry Richardson uses Tumblr as his main platform for his work, (terrysdiary.com) with images of his, amassing thousands of ‘notes’ (likes and reblogs).

“Is this really the state of high fashion campaigns in 2013? If so, I don’t want to be ‘in’ Fashion.”

Recent works of Terry Richardson’s includes the direction of Miley Cyrus ‘wrecking ball’ video. He posted Miley Cyrus images on his tumblr site to a combined audience of his and Miley Cyrus’ fan base, ensuring the imagery is spread around the internet at rapid speed. The images feature Miley nearly naked. What is his message to us? Forgetting the inappropriate content of this imagery; let’s focus on the representation of the young models that star in Terry Richardson’s campaigns; their innocence has been sexualised with the intention to sell ‘fashion’.

Consider those young males and females who set out onto tumblr to look at fashion imagery, or photography, art or Tumblr content in general. Typing those keywords into the search bar, it is highly likely that they will stumble upon the work of Richardson, perhaps with no intention or search needed. His content regularly pops up on the newsfeed of my own Tumblr account whether I choose to see it or not.

If this imagery was to be reblogged and appear on the newsfeed of an impressionable young girl, with thousands of notes, it would appear to be popular, deeming it fashionable even, so she should DEFINITELY reblog it. That’s how it works right? It is both embarrassing and worrying that Richardson’s work is so avidly supported and representative of the fashion industry.

Designers and brands that use Terry Richardson, you suck.

And so does everyone else who supports this man.

Sign and share the petition at Change.org  Over 17,000 names are calling for brands to stop using Terry Richardson.

Laura Ashley Douglas  is a BA Hons Fashion and Textiles Student at Colchester School of Art