Herb Ritts: L.A. Style

Overview

Herb Ritts: L.A. Style traces the life and career of the iconic photographer through a compelling selection of renowned, as well as previously unpublished, photographs and two insightful essays. Herb Ritts (1952–2002) was a Los Angeles-based photographer who established an international reputation for distinctive images of fashion models, nudes, and celebrity portraits. During the 1980s and 1990s, Ritts was sought out by leading fashion designers such as Armani, Gianfranco Ferrè, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, ...

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Overview

Herb Ritts: L.A. Style traces the life and career of the iconic photographer through a compelling selection of renowned, as well as previously unpublished, photographs and two insightful essays. Herb Ritts (1952–2002) was a Los Angeles-based photographer who established an international reputation for distinctive images of fashion models, nudes, and celebrity portraits. During the 1980s and 1990s, Ritts was sought out by leading fashion designers such as Armani, Gianfranco Ferrè, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Valentino, and Versace, as well as magazine editors from GQ, Interview, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair, among others, to lend glamour to their products and layouts. Largely self-taught, Ritts developed his own style, one that often made use of the California light and landscape and helped to separate his work from his New York-based peers. From the late 1970s until his untimely death from AIDS in 2002, Ritts’s ability to create photographs that successfully bridged the gap between art and commerce was not only a testament to the power of his imagination and technical skill, but also marked the synergistic union between art, popular culture, and business that followed in the wake of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

An exhibition of the same name will be on view at the Getty Center from April 3 through August 12, 2012; at the Cincinnati Art Museum from October 6 through December 30, 2012; and at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, from February 23 through May 19, 2013.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Published to accompany a traveling exhibition that opens at L.A.’s Getty Center in April, Getty associate photography curator Martineau (Still Life in Photography) draws from the archives of one of the most influential and celebrated fashion photographers of the late 20th century, offering an impressive collection of Ritts’s sumptuous nudes and portraits of supermodels and celebrities. Ritts’s obvious photographic influences—Weston, Siskind, and Mapplethorpe—are evident throughout, though his innovative use of water, fabric, tree branches, and other props display his special touch. That Ritts (1952–2002) clearly drew on ideas from the surrealists Dalí and Magritte as well becomes apparent in his portrait of Djimon Hounsou with an octopus on his head or a model whose hair covers her face so tightly that it forms a grotesque mask. The California sunshine and coast clearly sparked his imagination, so much so that the occasional interior shot falls flat. The inclusion of advertisements and magazine covers illuminate a phenomenal career that was cut tragically short by AIDS, but also reveal that color photography was not Ritts’s forte, as the images lack the depth and luxuriousness of the black-and-whites. With an essay by the Cincinnati Art Museum’s chief curator, James Crump, the book’s artfully arranged spreads, printed on high quality paper, are a veritable feast for the eyes. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

“Ritts was L.A. style.”—Vogue 

“A veritable feast for the eyes.”—Publishers Weekly

"Cindy, Naomi, Christy. All the supermodels are front and center in this stunning roll call that is Herb Ritts: L.A. Style."—Harper’s Bazaar

"[Herb Ritts: L.A. Style] chronicles the career of the late photographer and captures Ritts’s ability to bring the distinct feel of his native California to life. It’s his own unique version of California, a dry black and white background upon which to capture new compositions of the human body."—The Fader

"Ritts was a master at meshing the worlds of commercial and fine art, and was noted for his modern nudes and close-up portraits of bodies in motion."—Los Angeles Confidential

"No one captured L.A. fashion quite like iconic lensman Herb Ritts, whose chic photos fill the pages of this ultra-chic book."—Who What Wear

“Herb Ritts’s use of light, form and composition to communicate strength and poise evince his true genius.”—Resource

“[This book] should appeal to a wide audience, from arts and photography holdings to those interested in fashion history and California artists. It’s a dynamic gathering of all of Herb Ritts’s images and is not be missed.”—The Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606061008
  • Publisher: Getty Publications
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 403,231
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 12.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Martineau is associate curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He is the author of Paul Outerbridge: Command Performance (Getty Publications, 2009) and Still Life in Photography (Getty Publications, 2010). James Crump is chief curator and curator of photography at the Cincinnati Art Museum. In 2007, Crump wrote, produced, and directed the documentary film Black White + Gray, featuring the influential curator and collector Sam Wagstaff and artist Robert Mapplethorpe.

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