I thought to be the one against the stream when I disliked hist shoots of Lady Gaga and, just yesterday, of Rihanna for Rolling Stone. He is kind of tacky in my opinion, cheep inexpressive pictures ... that's it.
For some reason he got famous, but I guess being famous is not implying being talented, and not every talented person gets famous ...
I think his work varies. He definitely has chemistry and gets a lot out of his models.
Some of his editorial stuff is very clever, original and interesting. Though his ring flash point and shoot have an unsophisticated look, his creativity and eye transcend the limitations of his gear.
However I do have his X-rated book Kibbosh. I think his explicit images in Terryworld are whimsical and clever but Kibbosh is just sex snapshots. I don't see anything more beyond taking snapshots with a point and click during sex.
Separate matter is the allegations of some models against Richardson which have nothing to do with his skills as a shooter. I do not have firsthand knowledge but if there is merit to those claims, i'm surprised agencies and magazines are still eager to use him
For any type of photography involving human subjects, what you get out of the model is as important as if not more important than lighting or camera technique.
There are models with great bodies and pretty faces but when you shoot them there is nothing behind their eyes and they are uninteresting subjects no matter how technically masterful every other aspect of the image is.
Richardson is far better skilled at getting something compelling out of his subjects than most all of his haters are. I admire that.
Richardson's father was a famous photographer. Terry grew up an LA brat who met many young up and coming celebrities in the club and music scene. Taking pictures of people who have become famous will get your work a lot more professional attention than someone with a port of unknown models. That just got his foot in the door.
His work is edgy and has impact. That's why he is where he is today.