He was one of the photographers who created the supermodel phenomenon of the 80s and 90s with his glamorous images of Cindy, Naomi, and many beautiful others. Read more about portraitist Herb Ritts who will be honored in an upcoming posthumous exhibition at the Getty Museum.
This gallery will be the first since the 1996 show at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston which was graced by over 253,000 viewers.
Herb Ritts started with art and commercial photography in the late 70’s. With portraits and editorials in industry standard glossies such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone, Ritts was also responsible for wildly popular ad campaigns for fashion labels like Calvin Klein, Valentino, Versace, and Chanel. He also got into directing in the 80’s, with numerous influential and award-winning music videos and commercials.
According to the New York Times, he “belongs in the tradition of Richard Avedon, Louise Dahl-Wolfe and Irving Penn,” as far as style is concerned. Ritts was one of the go-to photographers of his time if a client wanted sharp contrasts, clean lines, strong forms, and near perfection. His photographs also often challenged conventional notions of gender or race, proving that his work was as much art as it was ads.
Paul Martineau, curator of the exhibit at the Getty, described Ritts as an impulsive photographer. “He wasn’t someone who had everything scripted. He approached shoots organically,” he told the New York Times. Martineau added, “’[Herb] Ritts embraced his life in Los Angeles in every aspect and that is evident in his photographs. You can feel the Southern California light and warmth in his work.”
Consisting of photographs of nudes, portraits, and images made for high-fashion ad campaigns, this acquisition of Ritts images is the most significant body of the artist’s work on the West Coast.
See these iconic images by Herb Ritts from April 3 to August 26 at the J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.