The actor was Richard Gere, and the pictures, ultimately published in various national magazines, served as the catalyst for Mr. Ritts's career as a portraitist. On December 26, 2002, Ritts died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 50. He moved to the East Coast to attend Bard College in New York, where he majored in economics and art history, graduating in 1975.[1]. The cause was complications from pneumonia, his friend Stephen Huvane, a Hollywood publicist, said. Mr. Ritts had a passionate interest in magazines, especially the ones he worked for regularly, like Vogue, where he was a contributor for more than 15 years. Ritts took publicity portraits for Batman, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin which appeared on magazine covers and merchandise throughout the 1990s. In 1991, he won two MTV Video Awards for his work on music videos by Janet Jackson and Chris Isaak. He also worked for Interview, Esquire, Mademoiselle, Glamour, GQ, Newsweek, Harper's Bazaar, Rolling Stone,[4] Time, Vogue, Allure, Vanity Fair, Details, and Elle. But at the end of the day, his immune system was compromised. [1] The picture gained Ritts some coverage and he began to be more serious about photography. Ritts also directed the music video for Michael Jackson's "In the Closet", which featured supermodel Naomi Campbell, as well as Jon Bon Jovi's music video featuring Cindy Crawford for "Please Come Home For Christmas". Born in Los Angeles in 1952, Mr. Ritts grew up in a prosperous family that owned a furniture business. Herb Ritts, the photographer whose glorifying images of the well known helped to further mythologize celebrity in the 1980's and 90's, died yesterday in a Los Angeles hospital… Ritts' work with those models ushered in the 1990s era of the supermodel and was consecrated by one of his most celebrated images, "Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood, 1989" taken for Rolling Stone Magazine. During the 1980s and 1990s, Ritts prominently photographed celebrities in various locales throughout California. He photographed Brooke Shields for the cover of the October 12, 1981 edition of Elle and he photographed Olivia Newton-John for her Physical album in 1981. Herb Ritts, the photographer whose glorifying images of the well known helped to further mythologize celebrity in the 1980's and 90's, died yesterday in a Los Angeles hospital. ''He would call when an issue came out and want to go over it even if he hadn't contributed to it, or he'd call to see how his covers sold.''. ''He would call a lot,'' Vogue's editor, Anna Wintour, said. Mr. Ritts's work extended beyond celebrity portraiture to fashion photography, artful nudes and the direction of television commercials and music videos. Some photographers are working so hard to be elegant that they pummel you with it, but to Herb it came effortlessly. Ritts also worked on other projects, including directing and acting, on Mariah Carey's "My All"(1997), Jennifer Lopez's sepia video "Ain't It Funny", Janet Jackson's Design of a Decade: 1986–1996 (1996), Intimate Portrait: Cindy Crawford (1998), Murder in the First (1995), Britney Spears' "Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know" (2001), and Shakira's "Underneath Your Clothes". ''He had an extremely elegant aesthetic. All rights reserved. Herb Ritts, the glamour photographer who has died aged 50, was born to money, the Los Angeles sunlight, the Californian body-beautiful culture of the beach house at Malibu and cabin at Catalina, and the star home (that of Steve McQueen) next door to the family's 27-room ranch. One of Mr. Ritts's most memorable in this vein was a Vanity Fair cover that featured Ms. Crawford pretending to shave the face of the singer K. D. Lang, who was in drag. ''The pictures didn't go beyond what the subject would want,'' said Etheleen Staley, a partner at the Staley Wise gallery in New York, which sold Mr. Ritts's work. For that reason he was a favorite of designers, like Gianni Versace, whose clothes paid homage to the human form. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. [1], Born in Los Angeles, to a Jewish family,[2] Ritts began his career working in the family furniture business. Herb Ritts, Photographer Of Celebrities, Is Dead at 50. Herbert "Herb" Ritts Jr. (August 13, 1952 – December 26, 2002) was an American fashion photographer and director known for his photographs of celebrities, models, and other cultural figures throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Herb Ritts, photographer, born 1952; died December 26 2002, Available for everyone, funded by readers. Five years later he replicated that cover pose with Madonna for her 1986 release True Blue. His father, Herb Ritts Sr., was a businessman, while his mother, Shirley Ritts, was an interior designer. He was 50 and lived in Los Angeles. The first video he directed was Madonna in "Cherish" in 1989. After graduating from Bard College in upstate New York with a degree in economics in 1975, he returned to Los Angeles to work for his family's company but was sidetracked when he started taking adult-education classes in photography. ''His purpose was always to make you look good,'' Mr. Gere said yesterday. [4] Some of his subjects during this time included Cher, Elizabeth Taylor,[5] Vincent Price,[6] Madonna,[7] Denzel Washington,[8] Johnny Depp,[9] Ronald Reagan,[10] David Bowie,[11] Courtney Love,[12] Liv Tyler,[13] Matthew McConaughey,[14] Britney Spears,[15] Michael Jackson, and Mariah Carey. His work concentrated on black and white photography and portraits, often in the style of classical Greek sculpture, which emphasized the human shape. He published books on photography for fashion designers including Giorgio Armani, Revlon, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, Elizabeth Arden, Donna Karan, Cartier, Guess, Maybelline, TAG Heuer, Lacoste, Gianfranco Ferré, Levi's, Victoria's Secret, Gap, Acura, CoverGirl, Lancôme, and Valentino. [17] According to Ritts' publicist, "Herb was HIV-positive, but this particular pneumonia was not PCP (pneumocystis pneumonia), a common opportunistic infection of AIDS. On December 26, 2002, Ritts died of complications from pneumonia at the age of 50. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. But at the end of the day, his immune system was compromised." See the article in its original context from. Mr. Gere remained one of his closest friends. A photographer whose subjects ranged from Madonna and Cindy Crawford to the Dalai Lama and Kofi Annan, Mr. Ritts, like George Platt Lynes, relied on clean, graphic compositions that often portrayed models and celebrities in the visual language of classical Greek sculpture. ''This is not to say that the pictures were always straightforward, because they often had a great deal of wit to them,'' Ms. Staley added. Mr. Ritts had recently shot a series of portraits for Vogue, including ones of Mr. Annan, the United Nations secretary general, and Marion Jones, the track star, all of which will appear in the magazine's February issue. The clothes, or the setting, seemed almost peripheral. From 1996 to 1997 his work was displayed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, attracting more than 250,000 people to the exhibit,[16] and in 2003 a solo exhibition was held at the Daimaru Museum, in Kyoto, Japan. He captured the 1980's era of the supermodel with Amazonian images of Ms. Crawford, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell. Mr. Ritts's fashion work was distinguished most of all for its worship of the body. Unlike many other contemporary commercial photographers, Mr. Ritts imposed little of his own sense of artistry onto his pictures. According to Ritts' publicist, "Herb was HIV-positive, but this particular pneumonia was not PCP (pneumocystis pneumonia), a common opportunistic infection of AIDS. ''Some photographers embalm their subjects, but he enlivened them.''. Then, in 1978, when he was 26 and just having fun, Ritts and his (then unknown) actor buddy Richard Gere, got a puncture in their Buick Le Sabre while driving round the desert… Not that he ever intended to make his living, and life, just being Californian. Mr. Ritts is survived by his partner, Erik Hyman of Los Angeles; his mother, Shirley Ritts; a sister, Christy Thrasher; and a brother, Rory, all of Los Angeles. He also took many fashion and nude photographs of fashion models Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford, including "Tatjana, Veiled Head, Tight View, Joshua Tree, 1988.". "[18], Learn how and when to remove this template message, Tatjana, Veiled Head, Tight View, Joshua Tree, 1988, "Herb Ritts, Photographer of Celebrities, Is Dead at 50",, "Breaking: Herb Ritts Money, Art to MFA50", "Ritts Coverage: Don't Hide the AIDS Truths", "Herb Ritts: old-school glamour's last stand", "Exhibition HERB RITTS: SUPER – artist, news & exhibitions", "Herb Ritts' Iconic Photographs of the '90s "Supers" Are Back", Staley Wise Gallery: Herb Ritts collection,, University High School (Los Angeles) alumni, Articles needing additional references from July 2019, All articles needing additional references, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiers, Wikipedia articles with RKDartists identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, second version of music video; with Helena Christensen, 1990: Nikos Apostolopoulos, Fashion House, Paris, Spring/Summer 1990, with model, 1992: Levi's Loose Fit Jeans "Flag" "Stone Wheel" "Red Stripes" "Poles" "Pyramids" "Climbers" "Fort Window" "Big Ball" "Nadege's Shorts" "Winter Shorts" "Loose Fit Ninety", 1992: Levi's Dockers "Grey" "Green" "Tan" "Brown" "Blue" "Black" "Green Shorts" "Tan Shorts" "Blue Shorts", 1994: Revlon "Kiss Proof" with Cindy Crawford, 1996: Revlon "Won't Fade Away" with Cindy Crawford, 1997: Victoria's Secret with Helena Christensen, 1998: Elizabeth Arden "White Pearls" with, 2000: Elizabeth Arden "White Diamonds" with Elizabeth Taylor, 2001: Elizabeth Taylor "United for America" Public Service Announcement, 2002: Victoria's Secret "New Angels" with, 2002: Victoria's Secret "Sexy Support" with, This page was last edited on 12 September 2020, at 02:31.