See Herb Ritts’ L.A. Style Exhibit In Sarasota, FL

Hello Beautiful Thinkers,

HerbRittsRichardGereThis week I’m back to photography and I’m looking at Herb Ritts!  He was made famous by his self-taught ability to take beautiful portrait and fashion photographs.  His career first took off after taking pictures of his friend, a then aspiring actor, Richard Gere in front of a jacked up car.  As Ritts grew more famous he continued to photograph and befriend celebrities, musicians, super models, and athletes.  Ritts is best known for taking provocative black and white photos of his subjects, often posed nude or in revealing clothing.

220px-Herb_RittsThe list of big names that Ritts has worked with goes on and on, long enough to fill pages.  His work has been featured in several notable magazines including Elle, Esquire, GQ, Vogue, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair.  In fact, his work has been used as the cover on nearly 40 editions of Vanity Fair, which I’m sure gives you an idea of how many magazine spreads he’s done.  The Herb Ritts website is still compiling a list of his fashion photography.  My guess would be because he accomplished so much in the industry that it’s a challenge to hunt down every magazine spread he did.

C3N3INDPMS_HerbRitts_CD_Madonna_TrueBlue_1986_01Ritts’ career didn’t stop at still photographs though.  He is responsible for the music videos of some of the biggest artists of the late 80s thru early 2000s.  While the list only includes 13 videos it is still impressive to see artist names like Madonna, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Jon Bon Jovi, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Tracy Chapman, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, N’Sync, Shakira, and Chris Isaak twice. Both of the Chris Isaak videos, “Wicked Game” and “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing,” got spots ranked on VH1’s 50 Sexiest Video Moments; “Wicked Game” ranked #13 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Videos.  Along with music videos, Ritts is also the creative mind behind 50 commercials for companies like Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Revlon, Cover Girl, Chanel, Victoria’s Secret, and more.

Sadly Ritts died in 2002 at only 50 years old.  It was well known that he was HIV positive and in the end his immune system wasn’t strong enough.  During his life he was committed to several HIV/AIDS causes such as Project Angel Food, Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, APLA, and The Elton John AIDS Foundation.  Even after his passing his passions are still carried on by the Herb Ritts Foundation.  The foundation’s purpose is to continue his support towards AIDS research and to offer assistance to education programs dedicated to advancing photography.  Ritts’ Foundation is also responsible for organizing exhibits of his work, like the L.A. Style exhibit currently at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL until May 19, 2013. It will be well worth the trip to see the legacy of such an accomplished artist.

Image-1Keep Learning Beautiful Thinkers,

The Boy In The Heart Shades

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