The Photography of Herb Ritts: Distinctive Portraits with Monumental Sensuality

Herb Ritts, Richard Gere, San Bernardino, 1977

Herb Ritts, Antonio Rossi in Tag Heuer’s Form, 1997

Herb Ritts, Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood, 1989

Herb Ritts, Fred with Tires II, Hollywood, 1984

Herb Ritts, Paul, Torso, Los Angeles, 1990

Herb Ritts, Carlos Moyá in Tag Heuer’s Form, 1997

The Photography of Herb Ritts: Distinctive Portraits with Monumental Sensuality

Herb Ritts (1952-2002) occupies photography’s Mount Olympus, along with the most important fashion and glamour photographers of the late 20th Century, including Horst, Richard Avedon, Bruce Weber and Helmut Newton. His photographs are a pivotal reference in our collective cultural memory; the classical poses of celebrities and models with their clean lines and distinct forms are easily recognizable as his style.

Herb Ritts was self-taught and he took his cues from the desert landscape surrounding his home and his close proximity to Hollywood culture, evident in the graphic quality and visual simplicity of his photographs and the heightened glamour of their subjects. He inserts a sense of rigorous formalism that seems to be inspired by modernist photographers like Edward Weston, August Sander or Man Ray.

The Edwynn Houk Gallery in Zurich recently presented an exhibition of photographs drawn from the collection of the Herb Ritts Foundation. In addition, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, has recently acquired 69 black-and-white images by the late L.A. fashion photographer valued at close to $1 million, given by his foundation in a single transaction that was part gift and part purchase. A Ritts exhibition is being planned at the Getty, drawing in part from the new acquisition, for April 2012.

A Montage of Herb Ritts’ Videos and Still Images

Gallery: Photography of Herb Ritts/Distinctive Portraits with Monumental Sensuality

(Please Click Image to View Photo-Gallery)

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