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
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