Portraits: 25 Postcards Herb Ritts

ISBN: 9781881270621

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Portraits: 25 Postcards  by  Herb Ritts

Portraits: 25 Postcards by Herb Ritts
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Herb Ritts was an American fashion photographer who concentrated on black-and-white photography and portraits in the style of classical Greek sculpture. Consequently some of his more famous pieces are of male and female nudes in what can be called glamour photography.Ritts was born in Los Angeles, California to a prosperous family. His parents, Herb and Shirley Ritts, owned a successful furniture business. He received an economics degree from Bard College in upstate New York in 1974 and soon after returned to Los Angeles to work as a sales representative for his familys business.

He came out as gay to his parents while in college- they were accepting and supportive.However, Ritts started taking night classes in photography and decided to dedicate himself to the art in the late 1970s. His first break into the business occurred as a result of taking portraits of his actor friend Richard Gere. These photos gained national exposure on the covers of many magazines.Throughout the 1980s and 1990s he worked with magazines such as Harpers Bazaar, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Vogue on portraits of famous people and artistic photos of models.Subjects of his black-and-white celebrity portraits included Kofi Annan, Cindy Crawford, Tenzin Gyatso (the Dalai Lama), Madonna, Jack Nicholson and Elizabeth Taylor.In 1981, Ritts took photos for the album cover of Olivia Newton-Johns Physical.

He started his long term collaboration with Madonna in 1984, when he shot the ad for her movie Desperately Seeking Susan.In 1984, he photographed Eagles drummer and vocalist Don Henley for his second solo album Building the Perfect Beast.In 1986, Ritts shot the cover photo of Madonnas True Blue album.

He later ventured into the world of music video at a suggestion of Madonna and filmed her video Cherish. In 1988, he photographed Steve Winwood for his Roll With It album. In 1989, he photographed Belinda Carlisle for her Runaway Horses album.He photographed Cindy Crawford for the July 1988, and October 1998 issues of Playboy.Ritts proved himself to be successful in directing music videos.

In 1991 two of these, Chris Isaaks Wicked Game, which featured Danish supermodel Helena Christensen and Janet Jacksons Love Will Never Do (Without You), won MTV Video Music Awards. He co-directed Michael Jacksons In the Closet video, which featured British supermodel Naomi Campbell. He also directed videos for Mariah Careys My All, Chris Isaaks Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing, which featured French supermodel Laetitia Casta, Britney Spears Dont Let Me Be the Last to Know, Jennifer Lopezs Aint It Funny and Shakiras Underneath Your Clothes, the latter was completed shortly before his death.He died in Los Angeles from pneumonia-related complications.

He was HIV-positive. He was survived by his partner Erik Hyman.Ritts final published photographs were those of actor Ben Affleck in Vanity Fair magazine.



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