Herb Ritts (Los Angeles, USA; August 13, 1952 – idem; December 26, 2002), fashion photographer American who was characterized by making beautiful works in black and white and by his portraits in a style similar to the sculpture of classical Greece. Some of his most celebrated photos are both male and female nudes. His famous black and white portraits include celebrities such as Kofi Annan, Cindy Crawford, Tenzin Gyatso (the Dalai Lama), Madonna, Jack Nicholson and Elizabeth Taylor.
The son of a wealthy family, Ritts was the eldest of four children, raised by his parents, Shirley and Herb Ritts Senior, who owned a furniture store. In 1974 he obtained a degree in economics from Bard College. After graduation, he returns to Los Angeles to work in the family business. While at the University, he communicated his homosexual orientation to his parents, who always supported him.
Dies in Los Angeles of complications of pneumonia. It was presumed that he was HIV positive. At the time of her death her partner was Erik Hyman.
During his life he collaborated with many AIDS organizations.
While working at the family furniture store, he began taking night classes in photography, deciding to pursue photography professionally in the late 1970s. One of the first jobs that brought him fame were the portraits he did of the actor Richard Gere. Gere was unknown then, but within a year he had become a huge star, and Ritts photos of Gere in a white vest, arms over his head, and cigar at his lips appeared in many magazines across America.
During the 1980s and 1990s, he worked for Harper's Bazaar, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Vogue, both on celebrity portraits and fashion models.
In 1981 he took the photos for the cover of Olivia Newton-John's album, Physical. In 1984 he began his collaboration with Madonna during the filming of Looking Desperately for Susan. In 1986 he would be responsible for the cover photos of Madonna's album, True Blue. Advised by Madonna, he entered the world of music videos, making his debut with the video for the song Cherish by Madonna herself.
In 1988 he photographed Steve Winwood for the Roll with it album and the following year Belinda Carlisle for the cover of Runaway Horses.
In 1991 two of his videos, Chris Isaak's Wicked Game and Janet Jackson's Love Will Never Do (Without You), won MTV Awards.
In 1992 he directed Michael Jackson's video clip In The Closet together with supermodel Naomi Campbell. He also did several photo shoots for both of them.
He photographed Cindy Crawford for two Playboy magazine covers: July 1988 and October 1998.
His last published photographs were those published in Vanity Fair of actor Ben Affleck, taken just 10 days before he passed away.
Whether you don't speak the language or are familiar with the culture, the image should hold up.