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Thu, Oct 10, 2013
The New Paper
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Yes, Miley strips again
by Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman

He's the man who directed the controversial Wrecking Ball video.

And now the man who got former Disney star Miley Cyrus to swing on top of a giant ball stark naked is at it again.

This time, Terry Richardson has returned to what he does best - shooting photographs.

And he hasn't let up.

The celebrity lensman has shot a series of nearnude photographs of the former teen star.

In one photo, Cyrus, 20, shows a nipple in a seethrough top. In others, she flashes her bum in an outrageously cut red-hot leotard and showcases her crotch in lacy tights.

Another shot has her sticking out her tongue and holding a drink can at her crotch in a vulgar pose.

Why are we not surprised?

Not just because it's the new Cyrus, but also because it's Richardson, who himself has set tongues wagging with his controversial photographic style that often borders on soft porn.

Remember Glee's Lea Michele and her benchstraddling pose in GQ three years ago?

What about Mila Kunis in the transparent topand- knickers combo on the same magazine in 2011?

Having worked with the likes of Lady Gaga, Madonna, Paris Hilton and even President Barack Obama, it's no wonder Richardson is reportedly the top-earning photographer this year with an estimated US$58 million (S$72 million) in yearly earnings.

But the US-born photographer has also been accused of inappropriate behaviour during shoots.

In 2010, The Guardian reported that Danish model-turned-film-maker Rie Rasmussen had confronted Richardson at a party during Paris Fashion Week about his "degrading" work.

She had reportedly told The New York Post: "He takes girls who are young, manipulates them to take their clothes off and takes pictures of them they will be ashamed of. They are too afraid to say no because their agency booked them on the job and they are too young to stand up for themselves."

But Richardson has defended himself in interviews, claiming he has a rule he lives by.

"I'd never ask anyone to do anything I wouldn't do myself," he said.

Which is why he has no qualms taking off his own clothes during shoots.

He explained how such a shoot might have taken place: "At first, I'd just want to do a few nude shots, so I'd take off my clothes, too... I'd even give the camera to the model and get her to shoot me for a while.

"It's about creating a vibe, getting people relaxed and excited. When that happens, you can do anything."

He went as far as to admit that he has his "issues", stemming from his newfound dominance over women after having been a shy child.

Clearly, like Cyrus, Richardson has no problems baring it all. But are local photographers here open to the idea?

Popular fashion and celebrity photographer Wee Khim, 49, told The New Paper: "Slightly sexy, with bits of skin showing, yes, but not completely nude.

"I know my limits as I generally shoot for Asian publications and they are quite conservative. But if I was working for a foreign publication, perhaps I would. Photographers like myself are always exploring new frontiers and the foreign industry is pretty open... liberal and daring."

Wee Khim, who has photographed local actress Zoe Tay, US singer Lana Del Rey and Chinese actress Gong Li, called Richardson's works "risque but not shocking".

Fellow fashion photographer Wesley Kow, 24, thinks that Richardson's photographs are "provocative and rebellious".

"You need to make the distinction between nudity and porn and if it comes across as sleazy, it shouldn't be allowed," he said.

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