Herb Ritts

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Herb Ritts
Herb Ritts.jpg
Born Herbert Ritts
(1952-08-13)August 13, 1952
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died December 26, 2002(2002-12-26) (aged 50)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Photographer
Known for Black-and-white photography
Awards GLAAD Media Awards
Pioneer Award 2008

Herbert "Herb" Ritts (August 13, 1952 – December 26, 2002) was an American fashion photographer who concentrated on black-and-white photography and portraits, often in the style of classical Greek sculpture.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Los Angeles, to a Jewish family,[1] Ritts began his career working in the family furniture business. His father, Herb Ritts Sr., was a businessman, while his mother, Shirley Ritts, was an interior designer. He moved to the East Coast to attend Bard College in New York, where he majored in economics and art history. Later, while living in Los Angeles, he became interested in photography when he and friend Richard Gere, then an aspiring actor, decided to shoot some photographs in front of an old jacked up Buick. The picture gained Ritts some coverage and he began to be more serious about photography. He photographed Brooke Shields for the cover of the Oct. 12, 1981 edition of Elle and he photographed Olivia Newton-John for her Physical album in 1981. Five years later, he would replicate that cover pose with Madonna for her 1986 release True Blue.

Later notable photographs[edit]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Ritts photographed celebrities such as Diana Ross, Christopher Reeve, Belinda Carlisle, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Michael Jordan, Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, Francesco Clemente, George Clooney, Cher, Mel Gibson, Elizabeth Taylor, Brad Pitt, Ronald Reagan, Julia Roberts, Stephen Hawking, Nicole Kidman, Edward Norton, Tom Cruise, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dizzy Gillespie, Elton John, Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Richard Gere, Jack Nicholson, Cindy Crawford, David Bowie[2] and Tina Turner.

He took many fashion and nude photographs of top fashion models Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford. Ritts' work with them ushered in the 1990s era of the supermodel and was consecrated by one of his most celebrated images, "Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood, 1989" taken for Rolling Stone Magazine. Ritts eventually set up Crawford with his good friend, actor Richard Gere, at a BBQ held at his mother Shirley's house. The couple married four years later in 1991, but divorced in 1995.

He also worked for the magazines, Interview, Esquire, Mademoiselle, Glamour, GQ, Newsweek, Harper's Bazaar, previously mentioned Rolling Stone,[2] Time, Vogue, Allure, Vanity Fair, Details, and Elle. He photographed Prince for his The Hits/The B-Sides greatest-hits package released in 1993. He published many books on photography for leading fashion designers including, Giorgio Armani, Revlon, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Elizabeth Arden, Donna Karan, Cartier, Guess, Maybelline, TAG Heuer, Lacoste, Gianfranco Ferré, Levi's, Victoria's Secret, Gap, Acura, CoverGirl, Lancôme, and Valentino. From 1996 to 1997 his work was displayed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, attracting more than 250,000 people to the exhibit,[3] and in 2003 a solo exhibition was held at the Daimaru Museum, in Kyoto, Japan.

Music videos[edit]

The first video he directed was Madonna in "Cherish" in 1989. In 1991, he won two MTV Video Awards for his work on music videos by Janet Jackson and Chris Isaak. Ritts also directed the music video for Michael Jackson's "In the Closet", which featured supermodel Naomi Campbell. Ritts also worked on other projects, including directing and acting, on Mariah Carey's video collection #1's (1999), Jennifer Lopez's sepia video "Ain't It Funny", Janet Jackson's Design of a Decade 1986/1996 (1996), Intimate Portrait: Cindy Crawford (1998), Murder in the First (1995), Britney Spears' "Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know (2001) and Shakira's Underneath Your Clothes.

Death[edit]

On December 26, 2002, Ritts died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 50.[4] According to Ritts' publicist, "Herb was HIV-positive, but this particular pneumonia was not PCP (pneumocystis pneumonia), a common opportunistic infection of AIDS. But at the end of the day, his immune system was compromised." [5]

Commercial[edit]

Herb Ritts Commercial: chronology

Music videos[edit]

Herb Ritts Music Videos: chronology

Books[edit]

Herb Ritts books: chronology

  • Pictures, Twin Palms Publishers, 1988
  • Men/Women, Twin Palms Publishers, 1989
  • Duo, Twin Palms Publishers, 1991
  • Notorious, Little, Brown and Company/Bulfinch Press, 1992
  • Africa, Little, Brown and Company/Bulfinch Press, 1994
  • Work, Little, Brown and Company/Bulfinch Press, 1996
  • Herb Ritts, Foundation Cartier Pour L'art Contemporain, 1999
  • Herb Ritts L.A. Style, Getty Publications, 2012

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.thejc.com/arts/arts-features/50673/lens-de%EF%AC%81ned-a-generation
  2. ^ a b Loder, Kurt (23 April 1987), "Stardust Memories", Rolling Stone (498): 74–77,80,82,168,171 
  3. ^ Edgers, Geoff (2007-04-05). "Breaking: Herb Ritts Money, Art to MFA50". Boston.com. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  4. ^ Bellafante, Ginia (2002-12-27). "Herb Ritts, Photographer Of Celebrities, Is Dead at 50". nytimes.com. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Signorile, Michelangelo (2003-01-22). "Ritts Coverage: Don't Hide the AIDS Truths". windycitymediagroup.com. Retrieved 13 Sep 2010. 

External links[edit]