Herb Ritts

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"An ability to create images that successfully bridged the gap between art and commerce was not only a testament to the power of his imagination and technical skill but also marked the synergistic union between art, popular culture, and business that followed in the wake of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s.”

During the 1980s and 1990s, Ritts photographed celebrities. He also took many fashion and nude photographs of fashion models Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford, including "Tatjana, Veiled Head, Tight View, Joshua Tree, 1988."

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.

Born in a favored Californian family, Herb Ritts became a famous photographer almost by accident. During a drive in the desert with his friend Richard Gere, he casually captured the actor changing tires in a garage, in a sweaty undershirt and a cigarette pending from his lips: the photography thus appeared in numerous magazines.


At a time when a strong interest resided in the body, the American photographer created black and white statuesque and sensual shots of the supermodels and celebrities of the 1980s and 1990s. Inspired by Greek sculpture he depicted a contemporary society by challenging gender, race and sexuality and transgressing stereotypes to privilege form, harmony and light - relying mostly on California’s ‘golden hour’. Herb Ritts’s images blended the female and the male, lightness and strength, suggestiveness and power to better depict a glamorous and mythical world.

A photo-book or photobook is a book in which photographs make a significant contribution to the overall content. A photo-book is related to and also often used as a coffee table book.

Published in 1992, Notorious offers an oversized array of previously unpublished portraits of the best-known arts, literary and entertainment personalities, among them Madonna, David Hockney, William Burroughs, Elizabeth Taylor, Dizzy Gilespie and Jack Nicholson. The book also has an appendix in which Herb Ritts recounts the details of his shoots. 120 duotone photographs, plus three 8-page gate-folds.

"Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood, 1989"

Ritts's intimate portraiture, his modern yet classical treatment of the nude, and his innovative approach to fashion brought him international acclaim and placed him securely within an American tradition of portrait and magazine photography that includes Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Irving Penn.