Herb Ritts (American, 1952-2002)

Herb Ritts began his photographic career in the late 1970s while living in Los Angeles when he and friend Richard Gere, an aspiring actor at the time, shot some photographs in front of an old Buick. He then photographed Brooke Shields for the cover of Elle in 1981 and Olivia Newton-John for her Physical album. In addition to producing portraits for Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview, and Rolling Stone, Ritts also was a fashion photographer for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Donna Karan, Gap, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Levi’s, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Valentino, among others. He took publicity portraits for Batman, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin which appeared in magazines and merchandise throughout the 1990s. 

Ritts was drawn to clean lines and strong forms in his photography. He often challenged notions of gender or race and injected social histories and fantasy into his images. The artist was committed to HIV/AIDS-related causes and contributed to many charitable organizations like The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, Special Olympics, and The Elton John AIDS Foundation.