Herbert ‘Herb’ Ritts (1952 – 2002) began his photographic career in the late 70s and gained a reputation as a master of art and commercial photography. In addition to producing portraits and editorial fashion for Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview and Rolling Stone, Ritts also created successful advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Versace and Armani among many others. Beginning in 1988 he directed numerous influential and award-winning music videos and commercials. His fine art photography has been the subject of exhibitions worldwide, with works residing in many significant public and private collections.
In the late 1970s, the mostly self-taught, Los Angeles–based photographer stumbled upon success, after his impromptu images of his longtime friend Richard Gere—taken at a California gas station, on a lark—were widely published and well received. For the next two decades, Ritts distinguished himself from his East Coast counterparts with his clean, minimal aesthetic and knack for Southern California light and landscapes. He also built an incomparable portfolio of fashion and celebrity portraiture as well as provocative, sculptural nudes, often featuring famous athletes and dancers. In his life and work, Herb Ritts was drawn to clean lines and strong forms. This graphic simplicity allowed his images to be read and felt instantaneously. His work often challenged conventional notions of gender or race. Social history and fantasy were both captured and created by his memorable photographs of noted individuals in film, fashion, music, politics, and society.