Anne Darling Photography

Herb Ritts Photography

Herb Ritts photography comes into the category of fashion glamour photography, in other words somewhere between glamour and fashion.

In fact it is probably more true the other way round, that Herb Ritts work is glamour fashion photography since the emphasis is always more on the glamour of the body, not the fashion even though his work often appeared in fashion magazines such as Vanity Fair and Harper's Bazaar.

His subjects are often semi-clothed, both men and women, with emphasis placed firmly on the sensuality and power of their bodies, nearly always in black and white and making great use of negative space.

Ritts was born in 1952 in Los Angeles. He was self-taught, and began by making photographs of his friends. His career started to take off when he met and made photographs of Richard Gere to whom he had been introduced by a friend. Gere was not yet famous but he was Ritts' pathway to meeting and photograhing famous celebrities, mostly from the Hollywood scene, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, Madonna, Cher, Cindy Crawford and Michael Jackson.

Love of the Human Form

Herb Ritts photography shows us how much he was in love with the human body, whether male or female. His images are of muscular men, and athletic women with radiantly gleaming skin and models half naked in the sand or wrapped in mysterious veils, and more often than not infused with a kind of raw qualtiy that contrasts superbly with the glamour.

At the same time he uses textures to heighten the sensuality of the image, such as sand or baked earth, and creates compositions that are simple, elegant and stunningly beautiful echoing classical Greek poses. More than that, his pictures have an inmmediacy and intimacy enhanced by graphic simplicity which gives the viewer the feeling of being able to connect with the personality in the photo.

Ritts died in 2002 at the age of 40, a tragically early death caused by pneumonia resulting from AIDS, but he is remembered today as not only a top fashion photographer but also a great artist.

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