Monday, Apr. 02, 2012

Herb Ritts

Known for his classic and elegant images, fashion photographer Herb Ritts was able to capture the purity of his subjects without the fuss that clouds many fashion photographs. With a methodology that resembled Greek sculpture — understated, clean and graphic — Ritts' black-and-white images made him a favorite within the Hollywood set and the fashion industry. Ritts started his post-college career by working at his family's furniture business, but it was an impromptu photo shoot on the side of the road that led him to pursue his artistic passion. It was the late '70s, and Ritts was traveling with his good friend, budding actor Richard Gere, when they got a flat tire. Ritts shot some photos of Gere while they waited, and eventually sold them to various national magazines. From there, Ritts started photographing celebrities for various publications — such as the iconic image of Cindy Crawford pretending to shave k.d. lang on the cover of Vanity Fair — as well as shooting the cover art for Madonna's album, True Blue, and Olivia Newton-John's Physical. Ritts seamlessly transitioned into fashion editorial, contributing to Vogue for more than 15 years. He even shot two covers for TIME, including the August 2000 issue featuring an exclusive with Tiger Woods. Ritts' love of photography eventually led him to take on the film world; Ritts directed music videos for everyone from Madonna to Michael Jackson — artists that are just as passionate, talented and inspiring as he was, and continues to be.