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Herb Ritts (1952-2002)

Herb Ritts (1952-2002)

Herb Ritts was one of the most important fashion photographers of the 1980s and 1990s. His pictures redrew the boundaries of fashion imagery, rethought the nude in photography and helped to transform celebrities into icons. Characterised by strong forms and clean lines, his photographs have a simplicity that is instantly appealing and yet belies the significant way in which they sought to challenge the conventional notions.

Ritts was born in Los Angeles on 13 August 1952 to Jewish parents, Herb Sr., a businessman, and Shirley, an interior designer. Although he began his career working for the family’s furniture business, Ritts decided to move to the East Coast to attend Bard College in New York, where he majored in Art History and Economics. He later returned to Los Angeles, however, and as a photographer it was in fact his use of bright Californian sunlight to create contrast and his love of outdoor locations for shots that stood him apart from many of his East Coast based counterparts.

Ritts’s interest in photography was first piqued when he and friend Richard Gere, then an aspiring actor, decided to shoot some pictures in front on an old Buick.

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