Terry Richardson was born in New York City, raised in Hollywood, California, and is the son of fashion photographer Bob Richardson. Richardson began photographing his environment while attending Hollywood High School and playing in a punk rock band. He has shot advertisements for fashion designers, including Gucci, Levi's, Miu Miu, Eres, Tommy Hilfiger, Club Monaco, Supreme, Hugo Boss, Anna Molinari, Stussy, Baby Phat, Jigsaw, Costume National, Hysteric Glamour, Matsuda, and Sisley. Richardson has also shot editorial photographs for Vogue, Vice, Harpers Bazaar, The Face, GQ and Sports Illustrated. He has exhibited in Japan, London, New York and Paris.
He is known for his provocative style of photography, notably his extensive use of compact cameras to shoot campaigns for high-profile clients. Richardson is a notable exponent of the snapshot aesthetic alongside other contemporary photographers such as Nan Goldin and Martin Parr. Richardson's photographs are often to some extent autobiographical and frequently graphically depict sexual subject matter.
Richardson's photo books include, Hysteric Glamour, which was published in 1998; this was followed by Son of Bob in 1999, Feared by Men Desired by Women in 2000, Too Much in 2001, Terryworld and Kibosh.