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)

Please Share This:

Share

The Photography of Jeanloup Sieff: An Eternal Dandy

Jeanloup Sieff: Ballet, Paris Opera, 1960

Jeanloup Sieff: Yves Saint Laurent, Paris, 1971

Jeanloup Sieff: Derrière Anglais, Paris, 1969

Jeanloup Sieff, Carolyn Carlson, Paris, 1974

Jeanloup Sieff: Sylvie, Paris, 1985

Jeanloup Sieff: Catherine Deneuve, Paris, 1969

Jeanloup Sieff, Liza Minelli, Paris, 1969

The Photography of Jeanloup Sieff: An Eternal Dandy

The French photographer Jeanloup Sieff (1933-2000) is a legend in fashion photography and one of the most prominent photographers of his generation. The Moderna Museet in Stockholm is presenting the first Nordic solo exhibition of Jeanloup Sieff’s work, which features a selection from Sieff’s photographic oeuvre.

Sieff began photography in the early 1950s as a contemporary of Helmut Newton and David Bailey, belonging to the generation succeeding Irving Penn. In the course of a long career, his photography spanned from fashion, advertising and portraits to reportage and landscapes. His images are often sensual and elegant, and in the 1960s he was much in demand as a fashion photographer, especially in New York City, where he lived for many years. Sieff was awarded several prizes, including the Prize Niepce, the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in Paris in 1981 and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1992.

Jeanloup Sieff had a huge popular appeal in France, the Unites States and elsewhere. His black-and-white photographs, always elegant and exquisitely printed, became his trademark style. Dancers and nudes were two recurring themes in his works. A trendy man about town all his life, early risers in Paris grew accustomed to seeing the long-haired, debonaire man driving a stylish vintage English sports car for his early morning breakfast in the St Germain district of Paris.

The Photography of Jeanloup Sieff

Slide Show: The Photography of Jeanloup Sieff

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

Please Share This:

Share

Irving Penn Dies at 92: Pioneer of Modern Fashion, Portrait and Still-Life Photography

Irving Penn, 1960s

Kate Moss, 1996

Kate Moss, 1996

Vogue, Fashion Photograph (Café in Lima), Peru, 1948

Salvadore Dali, New York, 1947

Truman Capote, New York City, 1948

Collette, Paris, 1951

Jean Cocteau, Paris, 1948

Nicole Kidman, Vogue Magazine, May, 2004

Irving Penn Dies at 92: Pioneer of Modern Fashion, Portrait and Still-Life Photography

Irving Penn, a renowned master of American fashion photography whose more simple aesthetic, combined with an often startling erotic sensuality, defined a visual style that he applied to such varied subjects as  fashion design, celebrity portraits and everyday objects, many of them now-famous photographs owned by leading art museums, has died at the age of 92.  In 1943, Penn started contributing to Vogue magazine, becoming one of the first commercial photographers to cross the schism that had separated commercial from art photography.  He did so in part by using the same technique no matter what he photographed: isolating his subject, allowing for scarcely a prop and building a work of graphic perfection through his printing process.  Art critics considered the results to be icons, not just images, each one more artistically powerful than the person or object in the frame.

A notorious perfectionist, he traveled widely, carrying his own studio to the ends of the earth to photograph Peruvians in native dress, veiled Moroccan women or the Mudmen of New Guinea.  Despite his appreciation for the art and craft of beautifully designed fashion, Penn later reached outside of the unreachable world it represents.  To escape or perhaps contest it, in the late 1960s he started photographing crushed cigarette butts and street debris.  He shot the cigarette butts in the same manner that he often photographed fashionable designer dresses, close up, with an intense graphic precision, against a white background.  He then built his negatives into “platinum-palladium” prints, a meticulous and expensive process that involves repeated printings of a negative on one piece of paper to create an extraordinary sense of depth and richness.  New York’s Museum of Modern Art found the cigarette butts exhibit-worthy in 1975. Far-sighted reviewers praised Penn’s ability to turn discarded objects into art, but the contradictions in his work still bothered some critics.

In 1950, while in Paris he went from a session of photographing the Italian sculptor Alberto Giacometti to photographing French butchers.  His collection of more than 250 photos of butchers, bakers, street workers and others in the series entitled The Small Trades, was acquired last year by the J. Paul Getty Museum and is on view now through January 10th.

A Tribute: The Photography of Irving Penn

Slide Show: Irving Penn/A Pioneer of Modern Fashion, Portrait and Still-Life Photography

(Please Click on Image to View Slide Show)

Readers can read more about the life and accomplishments of Irving Penn in The New York Times here, and in The Los Angeles Times here.

Reader’s can access a wonderful audio-slide show of Irving Penn’s series entitled The Small Trades, which is presently on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum here.

Please Share This:

Herb Ritt: The Elegant Photography of Masculine Glamour

Herb Ritt: The Elegant Photography of Masculine Glamour

Herb Ritt began his photographic career in the late 1970s, quickly gaining a reputation as a master of art and commercial photography. Ritt was in fact self-taught. He came from a suburb of Los Angeles, near Hollywood’s stomping grounds for the fashionable set that he would later immortalize. While growing up, his next-door neighbor was to become the Hollywood “tough guy” Steve McQueen.

After studying economics at Bard College in New York, Ritt moved back to the West Coast and went to work as a sales representative for his family’s business. Along the way, he picked up a camera and began shooting photographs as a hobby. Ritt’s friendship with Richard Gere in the 1970s, as the story goes, led to a drive in the desert, a flat tire and an impromptu photo session with Gere at a service station that launched his photography career in Hollywood.

In addition to producing portraits and editorial fashion shoots for Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview and Rolling Stone magazines, Ritt also created a large number of successful advertising campaigns. After 1988 he directed numerous influential, award winning music videos and commercials. His fine art photography has been the subject of exhibitions worldwide, and many significant public and private collections hold his works.

Portraiture of the nude physique is the main theme of Herb Ritt’s imagery: models, muscular men, athletes, bodies that express force, sensuality and beauty. Perhaps more than any other photographer of his generation, Ritt, who died in 2002 at the age of 50, redefined masculine glamour with his notoriously on-the-edge images of modern-day Adonises, whose highly muscular physiques he adoringly mythologized in his photographic studies.

Herb Ritt Montage Reel (The Herb Ritt Foundation)

Music Audio: Chris Isaak/Wicked

Herb Ritt: Elegant Photography of Masculine Glamour

TechnoratiTechnorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Please Remember Me and Bookmark This:

%d bloggers like this: