Not many photographers could get Tom Ford, James Franco, Frank Ocean and Lindsay Lohan to attend their art opening. Then again, Terry Richardson is not most photographers. The man has shot everyone from Kim Kardashian to President Barack Obama, so it isn't surprising that his first-ever Los Angeles solo show, fittingly dubbed Terrywood, was a gigantic deal. If you missed the exhibit's brief run at the trendy OHWOW Gallery earlier this year, you're in luck: It's being released in book form.
Unlike Terryworld, the infamous 2004 retrospective that focused on his signature brand of sexually charged photography, Terrywood is more of an ode to the city he grew up in. Yes, the 47-year-old made his name in New York City, but he spent his formative teen years at Hollywood High School, where, as a member of the punk band the Invisible Government, he paid more attention to his bass than he did to a camera. The rest, as they say, is history.
After moving to the artsy East Village in the 1990s with his father, Bob Richardson, himself a cutting-edge fashion photographer back in the '60s and '70s, Terry honed the provocative style he would later be known for. Before long, he'd become the go-to guy for every lifestyle magazine's edgier shoots. Not surprisingly, that includes Details. Jared Leto, Mike Tyson, George Clinton—he has shot them all for us.
You won't find pages of taut, naked bodies in the book. Instead, Richardson captures the kitsch, grime and sex appeal of Hollywood itself—stuff like neon signs, faded tabloids, dead-eyed starlets and boxes of In-N-Out burgers. Terrywood also tells the back story of his triumphant return to Los Angeles to plan the show, even going so far as to document the exhibit's star-studded opening. And that's perfect, because there aren't many things more Hollywood than detailing the celebities who turn up at your own exhibition about Hollywood.
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.
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