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traces the life and career of the iconic photographer through a compelling selection of renowned, as well as previously unpublished, photographs and two insightful essays.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.
This is Arthur Elgort's (born 1940) first comprehensive book, showing his world-renowned fashion imagery alongside his personal work. The Big Picturespans Elgort's five-decade career and illustrates his longevity as an emulated fashion photographer. His lively and casual shooting style is significantly influenced by his lifelong love of music and dance, particularly jazz and ballet. Elgort's 1971 debut in British Vogue created a sensation in the fashion world where his soon-to-be iconic snapshot style and emphasis on movement and natural light transgressed norms of fashion photography. Elgort subsequently rose to fame working for such distinguished magazines as American, French and Italian Vogue, Interview, GQ, Life and Rolling Stone and shooting advertising campaigns for fashion labels including Chanel, Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent.
Exhibition from October 17 to December 5, 2015
CAMERA WORK ⋅ Kantstrasse 149 ⋅ 10623 Berlin ·∙ Germany ·∙ www.camerawork.de Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday ⋅ 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The exhibition gives you a comprehensive insight into the unprecedented body of work by Herb Ritts, who is regarded as one of the most important fashion, portrait and celebrity photographers in history.
Herb Ritts worked with all major personalities of 80s and 90s pop culture throughout his career, which spanned more than 20 years. Amongst the exhibited works are famous portraits of David Bowie, stylistically demanding productions with top models such as Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss and Claudia Schiffer as well as portraits of Hollywood stars such as Drew Barrymore and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Herb Ritts not only created timeless icons with great intuition and stylistic confidence in using rigorous shapes, which provoke monumental sensuality, but he also influenced a generation of photo artists with his innovative picture language. Sand, sea, sky and often ominous, dramatic shadows are the backdrops against which Herb Ritts staged perfect light sculptures. His works were often created around Los Angeles, where he grew up as a neighbor of actor Steve McQueen. With formal seriousness and subtle eroticism, the »master of the lascivious pose« composed black and white pictures of distinctive elegance.The masterpieces by Herb Ritts are attributed to the icons of photo art, impressively demonstrate his timeless aesthetic as well as a directing picture language and nowadays achieve record prices of over 100,000 Euros at international auctions. Even though these famous works have found their way into art history, more artworks exist which were created in the respective photo shoots but have partly never been exhibited before. CAMERA WORK is proud to exclusively present a selection of these works which make omnipresent photo icons to exciting series of works.
All shown works for sale were produced in Herb Ritts' lifetime and are signed by him or Mark McKenna (the director of Herb Ritts Foundation).
Herb Ritts, who was born 1952, achieved his international breakthrough as fashion, celebrity, portrait and nude photographer aged 26. His initially private shots of the young Richard Gere, at that time relatively unknown and bursting with energy, whilst changing tires, marked the beginnings of his career as icon photographer of pop culture. The images were a sensation and were met with great enthusiasm because of their powerful aesthetics. This would lay the foundation of his international career. Herb Ritts decidedly shaped the aesthetics of magazines such as »Vogue«, »Vanity Fair« or »Interview« with his fashion features in the 80s and 90s. His promotional campaigns for companies such as Calvin Klein, Armani or Gap were immediately imprinted on the spectator’s memory. Even music videos for Madonna, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Shakira and especially Chris Isaak’s legendary video for »Wicked Game« belong to the artist’s unequalled body of work. Herb Ritts' works have been shown in many solo exhibitions across the globe, including amongst others the Guggenheim Museum in New York, J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles as well as Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Herb Ritts passed away in 2002 at the age of 50 years.
Initially conceived as a personal project on the walls of Sorrenti's New York loft, the material in Draw Blood for Proof eventually found its way onto gallery walls as a large-scale installation piece in 2004. Papering the site from floor to ceiling with layers of collected snapshots, contact sheets, prints, Polaroids and ephemera drawn from over 15 years of work, Sorrenti's collection was a unique look into the artist's diaristic creative process, going beyond ideas of public and private production.