HERB RITTSAmerican 1952 - 2002

HERB RITTSAmerican 1952 - 2002

Defining the fragile boundary between commercial fashion photography and culture, Ritts’s photography has had an immeasurable impact upon what we now conceive of as High Art. Throughout his tragically short career, Ritts was drawn to clean lines and strong forms in the tradition of Surrealist photographers Man Ray and Lee Miller. The graphic simplicity of Ritts’s photographs draw attention to the power of photographic manipulation to challenge conventional notions of sex and race, and as such continue to explore the concerns of the global contemporary.

Ritts began his photographic career in the late 1970s and gained a reputation as a master of art and commercial photography. In addition to producing portraits and editorial fashion for Vogue, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone, Ritts also created successful advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel, DKNY, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Levi’s and Valentino, among others. Beginning in 1988 he directed numerous influential and award-winning music videos and commercials.

Ritts was committed to HIV/AIDS-related causes and contributed to many charitable organizations, among them amfAR, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation , Project Angel Food, Focus on AIDS, APLA, Best Buddies, and Special Olympics. He was also a charter member on the Board of Directors for The Elton John AIDS Foundation. Ritts passed away on December 26th, 2002; his fine art photography continues to be the subject of exhibitions worldwide, with works residing in many significant public and private collections including that of The J. Paul Getty Museum.