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Terry Richardson, You Can Do Better

No doubt about it, January Jones plays one hot mama on AMC’s Mad Men. We’ve become accustomed to close-ups of Betty Draper‘s porcelain complexion and perfectly applied lipstick, her reproachful blue eyes and Grace Kelly waves. So what happens when the PR machine profiles the actress behind Mrs. Draper? Less than fortunate photo shoots, that’s what. Jones was a model back in the day, but judging from her recent editorial in GQ, we’d have to say that food porn fan Terry Richardson is not the best fit as her official portraitist.

After the jump, a preview of the images in question, plus our picks for a fashion shoot with the greats.

Images shot by Terry Richardson for the November 2009 issue of GQ. Read Mark Kirby’s interview with Jones here.

betty GQ

She is gorgeous and wearing nice undies, but this comes off as awkward, boring, stilted, and trying too hard.

betty GQ4

Though a deer trapped in the headlights is pretty sexy.

But we get it. GQ is targeted towards men who like attractive things, whether that attractive thing is a kid leather driving glove, a hand-knitted Scottish cardigan, a diving trip to the Maldives, or famous actress cleavage. Photographer Ellen von Unwerth is adept at presenting the sexier side of female bodies in a way that isn’t so… Richardson.

Ellen von Unwerth

Or how about someone like Ryan McGinley, who sharpened his skills shooting nude youth in caves, and has since built a steady resume of arty fashion spreads for W and others. This moody editorial depicting Kate Moss is from July 2007.

McGinley Moss W

Dutch photography duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin are all over the place, in a good way. Their portraits are by turns playful (below left), smokin’ hot (below middle), and revealing (below right).

Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

Another fashion photography pair, Mert and Marcus, have photographed actress Drew Barrymore on two occasions – the first, for W‘s April 2009 issue, the second for Katie Grand’s POP #10 – and both play up Barrymore’s features without making her look like an entirely different person, as actress “makeovers” are wont to do.

Mert and Marcus Barrymore

And then we have Steven Klein, creator of edgy high-fashion ad campaigns. His look is aggressive and seductive, but minus the lurid coloring and uncomfortable posing of certain hipster photographers.

steven klein

Last but not least, Peter Lindbergh, he of the classy black-and-white portraits, often involving nudity and/or smoking. Lindbergh was big with the supers, and we’re betting he could handle a female like Betty Draper.

peter lindbergh

We could go on — Meisel, Leibovitz, and Teller, for example — but what do you think of GQ‘s January Jones shoot?

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