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Camera Work Gallery in Berlin Presents Comprehensive Insight into Herb Ritts' Photography
Christy Turlington, Hollywood, 1988 by Herb Ritts. © Herb Ritts Foundation.


BERLIN.- Camera Work presents photographs from Herb Ritts, on view from May 14 through July 02, 2011. More than 50 photographs give a comprehensive insight into the work of Herb Ritts, who passed away in 2002. All of the exhibited photographs were developed during the artist’s lifetime.

In the 1980s and the 1990s, the autodidact worked together with nearly every superstar. Among the exhibited portraits one can find names such as Madonna, Mick Jagger, Dustin Hoffman, David Bowie, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, and Cindy Crawford. Thanks to his unique vision, distinctive portraits as well as very aesthetic nude photographs came into existence. His great sensitivity and his stylistic confidence with regard to the usage of strict forms, creating a monumental sensuality, enabled Herb Ritts to create timeless icons and to influence a whole generation of photographers with his innovative picture language.

Sand, sea, sky, and often baleful, dramatic shadows are the backgrounds against which Herb Ritts stages his perfect light sculptures. His pictures often originated in the surroundings of Los Angeles, where he grew up as a neighbor of actor Steve McQueen. With formal rigor and subtle eroticism, the »master of the lascivious pose« composed black and white pictures of distinctive elegance.

Within a very short time, Herb Ritts attained the legendary status of a fashion-celebrity-, portrait- and nude photographer. His, at first, private pictures of a young, still relatively unknown Richard Gere, bursting of strength while changing a tire helped establish the photographer’s career as icon photographer of the pop culture.

After Gere had his international breakthrough with »Days of Heaven« in 1978, Vogue as well as Mademoiselle requested and published those pictures. The photographs were a sensation and were met with great enthusiasm due to their powerful aesthetic. This is said to have laid the foundation for his international career.

Herb Ritts decidedly influenced the aesthetics of magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Interview with his fashion productions of the 1980s and 1990s. His advertising campaigns for brands such as Calvin Klein, Armani, and Gap were instantaneously memorable. But music videos for artists such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Shakira, and particularly Chris Isaak’s legendary video »Wicked Game«, too, belong to his unprecedented work.





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