Herb Ritts (photographer)



2015-06-26 11:02:29

Herb Ritts (1952-2002) was an American fashion photographer.

Life and career

Ritts became interested in photography in Los Angeles, when he and his friend actor Richard Gere took some photographs in front of an old Buick car.

He photographed Brooke Shields in 1981 for the cover of Elle, and Olivia Newton John for her 1981 Physical album.

His career saw him photograph numerous notable celebrities of his day, and musicians for album covers. He worked for some of the most famous and influential magazines, produced successful advertising campaigns, and published photography books for top fashion designers. He also went on to direct music videos for the likes of Madonna, Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez.

Ritts used mainly black and white photography, and drew heavily on the style of classical Greek sculpture.

Celebrated Photographs

  • Diana Ross
  • Michael Jackson
  • Britney Spears
  • Madonna
  • Mariah Carey
  • Dalai Lama
  • George Clooney
  • Cher
  • Mel Gibson
  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Brad Pitt
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Steven Hawking
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Tom Cruise
  • Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Elton John
  • Jack Nicholson

Notable sales

  • Floating Torso, St. Bathelemy (1987) sold for $24,000 at Phillips de Pury & Company in April 2011.
  • Fred with Tires, Los Angeles, California from the Body Shop series, 1984. Sold for $17,000 at Phillips de Pury & Company in April 2012 and for $40,000 at Christie’s in December 2008.
  • Jack Nicholson, Los Angeles, 1986, sold for $23,750 at Christie’s in April 2008.
  • Rachel Holding Sphere (1989) sold for $25,000 at Christie’s in April 2008.
  • Alek Wek, Los Angeles, 1998, sold for $25,000 at Christie’s in April 2008.
  • Djimon with Octopus, Hollywood, 1989 sold for $29,800 at Christie’s in October 2007.
  • Cindy Crawford, Hawaii, 1988 sold for £15,600 at Christie’s in May 2007.
  • Christy Turlington, Hollywood, 1988, sold for £23,750 at Christie’s in May 2012.
  • Versace Dress, Back View, El Mirage (1990), sold for $22,000 at Phillips de Pury & Company in October 2010, and for $33,600 at Christie’s in February 2007.
  • Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood (1989) sold for $19,200 by Sotheby’s in October 2004, $37,500 by Heritage Auctions in June 2010, and by Christie’s for $43,750 in March 2009 and for $54,000 in October 2006.

Did you know?

The Herb Ritts Foundation is dedicated to the continuation of Ritts’ HIV/AIDS research support, and to maintain his passion for photography and art. The foundation recommends four galleries to contact if interesting in purchasing original Ritts photography: the Edwynn Houk Gallery in New York, Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, the Hamiltons Gallery in London, and the Camera Work Gallery in Berlin.

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