Herb Ritts

Born in 1952 - United States


American fashion photographer Herb Ritts was born in 1952 and died in 2002 in Los Angeles, CA. He owes his international fame to his black and white nude photographs of men and women inspired by ancient Greek sculptures.

Herb Ritts found in California natural elements the perfect combination with his models. California roots always had an impact on Ritts’s aesthetic: the wind, light, landscape, the horizon stretching as far as the eye can see and the immense spaces. All of these ingredients entered on his photos to create a magical aura. Each image is a dialogue between body and nature. Even on African atmospheres Ritts' portraits seem inimitable.

From the late 1970s until his death, Herb Ritts’ production was a perfect union between photography, culture and commerce. He was able to create and leave to us an uncommon testament trough the power of his images where imagination and technical find the perfect harmony.

He is part of an American tradition of portrait photographers that includes Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Irving Penn and captivated by the formal rigor of Herbert List - his ability to create beautiful images was also a new way to show nudes. Like Robert Mapplerthorpe, he made a change in how the body was reproduced. He interpreted the nude as Art. Sometimes his compositions are a kind of abstraction of the body where the powerful belongs to classical perfection of paintings and sculptures. He revolutionized fashion photography, modernized the nude, and transformed celebrities into icons.

In the American fashion world Ritts was a legend, one of the reason was also his ability to capture star in relaxed moments or in intimacy. Liz Taylor, one of his close friends, entrusted the fragility of her body to him- her white head almost completely shaved for a post-brain surgery, draws an elegant silhouette against the black background. Or again, the sinuous body of Tina Turner, the gaze and glasses of William Burroughs, and Dizzy Gillespie's balloon-like cheeks stretching across a white background.

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