Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Glam Photographer Herb Ritts

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Celebrity photographer Herb Ritts made him something of a celebrity himself. Now, nine years after his death, the work of Ritts is getting its own CLOSE UP.

Ritts’ friend Churchward thought it was time for a book that celebrated the man as well as the work.

“I think people want to know more about who’s behind the camera and something about them,” Churchward said. “And I think that’s what makes them last. And that’s why I wrote the book.”

Herb Ritts had a way of getting to the ESSENCE of a person.

“I can have a given situation set up, but it’s catching that moment – allowing them to be themselves – and capturing something that’s special,” he said.

Cindy Crawford . . .

“What I always say is the way Herb photographed you is the way that you wished you looked when you got up in the morning.”

. . . or singer-songwriter k.d. lang . . .

“I think Herb had a way of understanding how to exude the beauty within,” lang said. “I really do. He knew the balance of the soul and the body, and where the beauty was.”

Churchward said that Ritts, who grew up in L.A., introduced a new kind of glamour photography.

“Herb had been raised with light, with the beaches, with the sun,” he said. “Everybody before that was in the studio shooting and controlling everything. Suddenly he was able to take the same things outside and make people more natural and yet still have that glamour.”

Ritts’ photo of his pal Richard Gere – snapped while the two of them were waiting for a tire to be changed – helped launch both their careers in 1978.

Ritts once told CBS News, “Three months later, Vogue, Esquire, Mademoiselle had run all the images from the gas station that I’d taken, which was kind of interesting. And I got paid for it.”

Soon, he was getting photographing everyone, from Tom Cruise to Julia Roberts . . . hanging out at Vanity Fair’s Oscar party . . . and hosting his own celebrity-studded birthday bashes.

Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere (who were married for 4 years) met at one of Herb’s parties.

She said Ritts was just fun to be around:

“I mean, he was a mensch,” Crawford said. “I don’t know if you know that word. But he’s just a good guy. He was a total sweetheart. He loved people.”

“His photographs are in a class of their own,” said lang. “You can just recognize a Herb Ritts photo from, you know, ten paces.”

Ritts learned in 1989 that he had AIDS, but he worked up until the very end and his last shoot was for Vanity Fair on Ben Affleck.


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